The New

The much aclaimed Cyclopaedia of Ephraim Chambers, originally published in 1728 was re-edited by Abraham Rees in 1778, with the incorporation of a supplement and much new matter, it was issued by him from 1779 to 1786, (fol. 4 vols.); reprinted 1788-91, (fol. 4 vols.) In recognition of his labour he was elected in 1786 a fellow of the Royal Society, and subsequently of the Linnean Society and the American Society. The favour shown to his work led him to project a similar but more comprehensive publication on an ampler scale.

Portraite of Abraham Rees1819 Cyclopaedia title page

The first part of the New Cyclopeadia, or Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences together with the subjects of Biography, Geography, and History, was issued on 2 Jan. 1802, and the work was completed in August 1820. The parts were issued at irregular intervals, two parts constituting a volume.

1819 Cyclopaedia printed for

The complete English edition, published in London by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown...

Rees's 1819 CYCLOPAEDIA 39Vols. 6 Plate Vols.

...45 Full leather Volumes, (comprising 39 text volumes, 5 plate volumes and atlas). 4to. (26.5 x 21 cm). 1107 Plates, and Atlas with 61 folded maps 16" by 10" in size.

Rees's 1819 CYCLOPAEDIA marbled page ends

The encyclopaedia was largely Rees' own work and was especially strong in new and well-written biographical articles. The articles on music were written by Dr. Charles Burney and those on botany were mostly written by Sir James Edward Smith, the founder of the Linnean Society.

click on image to enlarge to near full size

"Sydenham Edwards illustrated the natural history section, only a small protion of these plates were botanical, the majority comprising animals, both vertebrates and invertebrates, and engraved by Milton and Scott. One of these 'Lion, Lioiness and Young' appears in T.H. Thomas' article (1910). Rees's Cyclopaedia is said to have outclassed the Encyclopaedia Britannica of that time and 'remains a monument to the memory of another native of Wales, namely, dr. Abraham Rees, the Encyclopaedist, who was a native of Llanbrynmair, Montgomeryshire... The plates are far beyond any work of the kind in England of the period in costliness and in skill. They are all engraved upon steel in the best style of the time' (Thomas 1910)."

1811 plate entomology by Milton

1811, London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, original copperplate engraving with original hand-coloring, showing Entomology, Coleoptera: ccollaris, imperialis, quadrimaeulata, bisasciatum, unidentatus, nigro-virens, thoracicus, longimanus. Engraved by Milton. Sized 10 3/8 x 8 1/2 inches.
(see more coloured Plates of Insects)
(see coloured Plates of Fish)