Robert Walton (Biographical details)

Robert Walton (publisher/printer; British; Male; 1618 - 1688)

Also known as

Walton, Robert


1648-66 Globe and Compasses in St Paul's Churchyard 1666-71 Little Britain over against the Globe 1673 Globe & Compasses at the west end of St Paul's 1676/84-1688 the Globe on the north side of St Paul's


Printseller and publisher; one of major figures of his day, and the only one who has a pronounced personality which comes across in the vitriolic campaign he waged against John Overton in print (see his advertisement of c.1674 and elsewhere).
Walton was born in Welford in Northamptonshire, where his father William was a yeoman. He was apprenticed as a printer to John Costard of Lothbury in the Merchant Taylors' Company in 1632 for nine years; he was freed in 1641. He and Stent must have known each other as fellow apprentices in Lothbury, and the two men subsequently had many dealings (Globe p.221). He set up in 1647 both as a printer and printseller.
Unlike Stent, he hardly ever seems to have reprinted others' plates. His own ones are usually of mediocre quality, and are usually of subjects rather than portraits. He mainly dealt in engravings, often of emblematic character (eg Hind III 339.17), and played little part in the mezzotint fashion of the 1680s. Among the few that he published were some by the obscure Edward Rixon (CS 1-5). He also dealt in imported Italian, French and Dutch prints as well as maps (see London Gazette for 19 June 1686).
His production is described in six catalogues or advertisements he issued between 1655 and c.1674.
His career has been established by Tyacke (pp.145-6). He published from three or perhaps four places. He began in 1648 at the Globe and Compasses in St Paul's Churchyard, between the two north doors. The Great Fire in 1666 drove him to Little Britain over against the Globe (or at the Dial). He stayed there until the end of 1671, but in 1673 was again at the Globe and Compasses at the west end of St Paul's as you turn towards Ludgate (so the Term catalogue). Sometime between 1676 and 1684 he either moved or decided to redescribe his address as at the Globe on the north (or back) side of St Paul's near the west end towards Ludgate (or at the corner shop towards Ludgate).
The reason for his feud with Overton is unknown, but the Term catalogue for July 1672 shows that the two men had collaborated in an edition of 'The English Military Discipline'. The feud lasted at least to 1682, when in an advertisement in the 'Protestant Mercury' of 24 May he accused Overton of pirating Dutch maps.
By his will in 1688 he left small sums of money to his sisters and to the poor, with the proviso that not a penny of it 'shall extend to any Papist' (see Tyacke). Such anti-Catholic fervour is seen in some of his prints (eg. 'The Christian Almanack with representations of the horrid Popish Plots of 1572,1588 etc.' advertised in the London Gazette for 27 December 1680). The will was witnessed by John Taylor, the bookseller who also published from the Globe at the west end of St Paul's, and by his apprentice Christopher Browne (q.v.), who continued the business after Walton's death (see the Term catalogue for July 1688).
Trade card in Heal Collection (Heal,17.165) states "Sold by Robert Walton at the Globe and Compasses on ye north side of St. Paul's Church." Heal's annotations on mount: "Hilton-Prices 'Signs of Old London' L.T.R. Vol III p.133 gives 'Globe & Compasses' West End St. Paul's Churchyard 1664-1673, Robert Walton - bookseller. 1688 Christopher Brown - bookseller. See Plomer 1647-87."