Distribution Across the Counties
The distribution of items across the historic counties in Views of England and Wales is very uneven, as revealed by the graph below. By far the best represented county is Gloucestershire with over four hundred and sixty items, closely followed by Yorkshire with just over four hundred. London has the third most with one hundred and forty-seven and Kent the fourth most with one hundred. At the other end of the scale, there is just one pencil sketch for Bedfordshire, while Cornwall has only two items, and Dorset and Nottinghamshire just three each. Most historic counties have between ten and ninety-nine items.
This unequal distribution across the counties raises some questions: does it reflect the interests of staff in the Department who contributed to the collection? Or could it reveal more wide-ranging interests than just the areas they were known to study? Or does it point towards the haphazard nature of collecting, and procuring what was simply available at the time in places like antiquarian bookshops? As alluded to already, are we missing parts of the collection? Have Rutland and Staffordshire been lost? Unfortunately, because we do not know exactly who was involved in building it, we will probably never know, but we are hopeful that some information will come to light one day.