Before and after

Is there a more famous event in the history of London than the fire which started on the 2nd of September 1666? We call this the Great Fire to separate it from numerous conflagrations that had beset the city both before and after. One unexpected outcome of the disaster was the amount of mapping produced in the immediate aftermath, mainly to support the number of different proposals for redevelopment. One of quickest to print was this map, made a mere fortnight after the end of the fire by Valentine Knight.

Several proportions and scheems were offer’d to rebuild the City of London after the great fire. This one was proposed by Val. Knight, 1666. (E) C17:70 London (485)

This hastily made map isn’t the important part of Knight’s proposals, that comes in the accompanying text which sets out his ideas for redevelopment. The map does give an immediate view of the damage caused by the fire though, almost all buildings in the City destroyed, including over 13,000 houses, close to 90 Parish Churches and then some of the major buildings within the City, including St Paul’s. Of his proposals number 9 suggested a way that the rebuilding could be paid for, setting out a scheme of rent and deposits that could be charged on the grander houses. In part of the proposal Knight writes ‘…with all the fines [fees] shall be paid to the King, his heirs and successors, towards the maintenance of his forces by land and sea…’. The idea that the King could profit from the fire so incensed Charles II that Knight was temporally imprisoned.

This neater map was made in the year of the fire by the diarist and contemporary of Samuel Pepys, John Evelyn. Evelyn’s plan allows for a neater layout of the City but was rejected as being too expensive and cumbersome with the large number of different land holders involved, as was Knight’s.

What with the destruction to life and property the fire made any earlier maps outdated, such as this wonderful panorama of the city (stitched together digitally from the three sheets that make up the set for this blog) which was printed earlier in the year of the fire by Wenceslaus Hollar

 

The Prospect of London and Westminster taken from Lambeth. Version I, the original state, 1666, C17:70 London (1365)

The view of the City, from Lambeth Palace from the south bank, shows a host of church spires, with in the middle of them all St Paul’s. All were destroyed so Hollar had to make a new map showing the post-fire cityscape. Here’s the original sheet covering the City

and here’s the revised sheet with the new St Paul’s and Parish Churches.

This image of the new design for the dome of St Paul’s is part of a small set of maps made by Sir Christopher Wren for the rebuilding of the Cathedral.

Old St Paul’s; a section showing the choir with Wren’s suggestion for a dome over the crossing and a new nave. [Together with] Ground plan, 1666. (E) C17:70 London (498).

Hollar produced many maps of the city, including one showing the area destroyed in the flames. An inset shows the fire at its height

When one name leads to another

Most of the blogs here are fairly easy to write. You have the map, you have enough knowledge to write about the map, and if not books in the library will help. Occasionally you start looking into something where one clue leads to another, where one name stands out or where something doesn’t seem right.

This seemingly innocent small atlas , with three maps from the U.S. Geological Survey at 1:125,000, looks at first glance to be a simple presentation to friends.

But the dedicator, Albrecht Penck, is a familiar name. Penck was a German geographer and geologist who was the instigator of the acclaimed mapping series the International Map of the World. At the 5th International Geographical Congress in Berne in 1891 Penck proposed that there should be a standard map coverage of scale and design covering the World, and after further discussion in following congress meetings a design and a way of producing the maps was agreed on at the London Congress in 1909. More on the IMW series of maps can be found here

As for why Penck was sending out best wishes from the Townshend Ranch, that is more of a conundrum. He travelled to the United States a number of times but there seems to be no biographical information about a trip to Colorado. The story takes another twist when you look into the Townshend Ranch, which annoyingly doesn’t actually appear on any of the three maps in the atlas, something not helped by the fact that the ranch was by Black Squirrel Creek, and there are a number of different creeks in El Paso County with this name (the extract on the right is just one of two Black Squirrel Creeks on the three sheets in the atlas, Big Springs Sheet, Colorado, 1:125,000 1900). Born in England in 1846 Richard Baxter Townshend emigrated to the United States in 1869, moving around the south west before building a ranch alongside the creek. Townshend returned to England after making money in the States, married and eventually got a tutor’s position in Wadham College, across the road from the Bodleian here in Oxford. He wrote about his adventures in ‘Tenderfoot in Colorado’, first published in 1923.

The maps are published by the United States Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.). The rather bland description ‘U.S. Geological Survey, J.W. Powell, Director’ doesn’t do justice to a remarkable man. Born in New York to English parents Powell had explored most of the major rivers of the Eastern United States before signing on as a cartographer and engineer with the Union army in 1861. During the Battle of Shiloh the following year his right arm was blown off, making his subsequent achievement of being the first man to sail down the Colorado and Green Rivers, passing through the Grand Canyon on the way, even more remarkable.

Townshend’s story didn’t end there though, as his name continues to ring out every time the ‘Enigma Variations’ is played. Townshend was a close friend of Edward Elgar, who dedicated the third of the Variations to ‘R.B.T.’

 

 

The first of these next two images comes from ‘My friends pictured within‘ by Edward Elgar, (17402 d.799) which shows the people Elgar dedicated the different variations to. The second image is the start of the score to variations No. 3, dedicated to R.B.T. This is from the first published copy of the score from 1898 (Mus 221 c.40)*.

The Townshend Ranch, El Paso County, Colorado U.S.A.’ 1908 F6:14 b.1

  • Thanks to colleagues from our excellent Music Department here at the Bodleian

The classical world

The subject of teaching Latin in schools has been in the news lately.  Go back a few hundred years, and learning about ancient languages and civilisations was a fundamental part of education. Fascination with classical learning, and the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, could be expressed in maps as well as other forms. This atlas containing 36 maps of the classical world, with accompanying tables describing the organisation of the Roman Empire, has just been catalogued. All the maps date from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, and almost all are French.

This is an atlas factice – a composite atlas, assembled to order or bound by the collector – and these are always particularly exciting to deal with as you don’t know what you will find next. It has no title page, but bears the spine title “Antient mapps”. It is quite coherently organized, beginning with maps of the eastern and western parts of the Roman Empire (see above), which even include small inset maps of the eastern and western hemispheres for a global view. It goes on to include more detailed maps of the Empire’s regions, and those associated with other early civilizations such as Greece, Illyria and Scythia; then come maps of the regions of Turkey and the Colchis and Albania regions of what is now Georgia in the Caucasus.

Most of the maps don’t appear to be very common, and a detailed map of Gallia Antiquae (ancient Gaul or France), which was first made by the French mapmaker Nicolas Sanson in 1627, appears in a later revised edition by Pierre Moulart-Sanson (his grandson) with additional descriptive text for which we have not been able to find any records elsewhere. It may however appear unrecorded in atlases.

All the countries around the Mediterranean are shown as they were in the times of earlier civilisations, with Roman provinces and in some cases Roman roads marked; roads can be seen converging on the city of Rome on the map above, reminiscent of the old joke that the Roman roads ran very straight in all directions, and all led to Rome. The details of roads are sometimes derived from the Peutinger Table, a Medieval copy of a an earlier map showing the roads of the Roman Empire (you can see a copy online and have fun planning routes on Roman roads here https://www.omnesviae.org/viewer/).

By modern standards the maps are not that geographically accurate. Some places are shown as being on the same latitude when they are really an enormous distance apart, and ancient sites are occasionally shown in the wrong place. The shape of the Caucasus below is somewhat different to how it would be represented on a modern map. For some of the maps it is very difficult to calculate which prime meridian is being used.

Almost all the maps are French publications, with Nicolas Sanson and his son Guillaume being most widely represented, though a few Italian ones are included. This atlas is in the Bodleian Library, but nine of the maps also appear in another composite atlas held in the library of one of the university colleges, with a manuscript title page, suggesting that these may have been available as a set. These are nearly all by the Sansons.

Antient mapps. [1660-1723] . Map Res 152

 

дорожное путешествие!

This beautiful map, published in 1965, shows that it’s not just the U.S. that does lovely road maps. Over three strips in a small atlas the road from Moscow to Simferopol via Kursk and Kharkiv (in Russian Kharkov) is shown in pictorial form.

It is the perfect map for a road trip. Starting at Moscow, with the white Grand Kremlin Palace visible behind the trees, going south following what is now the E105, part of the International E-Road network which starts in the north of Norway and finishes at Yalta, the map (and road) finishes in Simferopol, capital of what was at the time of the map the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. Next to the map is text giving tourist information along the way. Throughout the map and amongst the text are small pictures of life on the road, camping

or, just in case you were having too much fun and needed a reminder of Soviet achievement, tanks on a War memorial

The map is part of a series, the Bodleian also has a version going from Moscow to the Trans-Carparthian region of Ukraine. This follows the same design as our featured map (including the lovely picture of the crane shown here) but does include a warning to the perils of the road.

As the introduction says, ‘Traveling by car from Moscow to Simferopol enjoys well-deserved popularity. The route of travel passes along a well-equipped highway, suitable for traffic at any time of the year’. Time for a holiday, mid-60s Soviet style.

If you fancied something a bit more sedate here’s a page from a travel guide to the Oka River, which flows south of Moscow.  All three maps are published by the Main Directorate of Geodesy and Cartography of the State Geological Committee of the USSR.

More on U.S. road maps here

Moskva Khar’kov Simferopol‘. 1965, Glavnoe Upravlenie Geodezii i Kartografii Gosudarstvennogo Geologicheskogo Komiteta SSSR. C40:6 d.3

Moskva – Kiyev – Zakarpat’ye, 1964 Glavnoe Upravlenie Geodezii i Kartografii Gosudarstvennogo Geologicheskogo Komiteta SSSR. C40:6 d.4

По Оке (On the Oka), 1964. Glavnoe Upravlenie Geodezii i Kartografii Gosudarstvennogo Geologicheskogo Komiteta SSSR. C40:6 d.5

A map of the most beautiful place in the World (perhaps)

The Lake District is one of the most beautiful areas in the country. Don’t just take my word for it, take Peter Crosthwaite’s. This map, created by Crosthwaite, is titled ‘An acurate map of the matchless lake of Derwent (situate in the most delightful Vale which perhaps ever human eye beheld) near Keswick, Cumberland…’  Considering that Crosthwaite alludes to himself as ‘Admiral to the Keswick Regatta, Keeper of the museum at Keswick, guide, geographer and hydrographer to the nobility and gentry who make the tour of the Lakes’ he obviously wasn’t one for modesty.

The map itself doesn’t quite match the beauty of the location but it does include a lot of useful information; spot depths in the lake and travel and tourist information. As with most maps of the time Gentlemen in the area are named and the major houses in the area are portrayed. Crosthwaithe made maps of other lakes, including Windermere (shown here) and Coniston. While neither have such flowery titles both have poems extolling the landscape shown.

All the maps feature ‘West’s stations’, viewpoints mentioned in one of the earliest guides written about the area, Thomas West’s ‘A guide to the Lakes: : dedicated to the lovers of landscape studies, and to all who have visited, or intend to visit the lakes in Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire’. West and Crosthwaite were promoting the Lake District at a time when tourism to the area began to grow.

Many cartographers make bold claims with their maps, with titles including such phrases as ‘an exact survey’, ‘new and improved’ and ‘drawn from the best authorities’. These maps flip that convention around by putting the praise back where it belongs, the countryside.

An accurate map of the matchless Lake of Derwent (situate in the most delightful vale which perhaps ever human eye beheld) near Keswick, Cumberland; with West’s seven stations 1784. (E) C17:22 (9)

Dog-eared

We all have maps like this. Dog-eared, well used, creased, pushed into pockets or bashed about in a rucksack. For whatever reason they show signs of wear and tear, which is an inevitable outcome considering the purpose of Ordnance Survey Landrangers and Explorers in the first place. Every crease or mark is a souvenir of a good walk or cycle.

This map, Landranger 194, Dorchester, Weymouth & surrounding area, from 1989 went on an early walking holiday with the future wife, in the early 90s. We took her dog Tess with us, an intelligent Labrador with a sense of fun. On one walk the map was spread out on the grass to plot the route and Tess walked across it. Tess is long-gone, but her paw print is still there, over Winterbourne Abbas and its stone circle, the Nine Stones. The map may have been superseded, but the personal importance will never go out of date.

We all have maps like this, don’t we? We have in the collections at the Bodleian. It’s exciting to come across a map that has been changed in someway, often to suit the owners’ needs. War seems often to be a cause, be it an altered trench map to show terrain

or a commercial Ordnance Survey 1/4″ sheet with additional marks made by a First World War pilot marking safe landing grounds around London (more on this map can be found here)

Then there are the plain bizarre, these links will take you to earlier blog posts of an intriguing burn mark on a map made during the Revolutionary period in France (here) and a map used by the film director Michael Winner to plan scenes for a film set during the Rome Olympics (here), 

Wife and dog on Dorset walk. Note state of paws, those aren’t socks.

The things you find when you tidy up

Over a decade ago, the Bodleian Map Room moved its collections out of what was then the New Bodleian Library, for the building to be completely redeveloped into the shiny new Weston Library. Anything uncatalogued was given a barcode and brief record to locate it in the new storage facility in Swindon. It was while tidying up the last few of these that we stumbled across this beautiful panorama of the Grampian Mountains. Everyone loves a panorama, so here it is, showing a view across the Scottish landscape.  The hills grow increasingly faint into the distance.  Settlements can be located by the wisps of smoke rising from them, presumably from peat fires.

In the foreground a picturesque rocky outcrop is surrounded by colourful heather; this is captioned beneath “The summit of Benclach, 2359 feet above the sea.”

It’s described as “A view of the Grampian Mountains, taken from the Summit of Benclach the highest of the Ochill Hills, a station in the Trigonometrical Survey of Great Britain, situated 28 miles north west from Edinburgh.” There’s a lot of cartographic history packed into that title. The Ordnance Survey has origins going back centuries, but the Roy Map of Scotland from the 1740s and ’50s is often seen as the immediate forerunner to the systematic survey of the whole of Great Britain begun at the very end of the eighteenth century. The survey started at the south coast, mapping the country at 1 inch to a mile, and worked northwards. It took decades to cover England and Wales, and the first published maps OS maps of Scotland were later still. However, the initial Trigonometrical Survey which worked its way up Britain, plotting exact locations by a process of triangulation, had reached southern Scotland by the 1810s. The panorama was both drawn and published by James Gardner, previously “employed on the Trigonometrical Survey”.

From 1823 Gardner was established in London as a publisher and seller of maps, and sole agent for the sale of Ordnance Survey maps; he retired in 1840 and the business passed to his son. The mention of his earlier role as a surveyor probably indicates that the view was made to be accurate rather than simply an artwork, and certainly seems to show a pride in being involved in this great scientific endeavour. There is an outline diagram underneath which names the mountains, settlements and other features, making the panorama informative as well as beautiful.

The point of origin is probably Ben Cleuch in the Ochil Hills. There is a note stating that it covers “about 85 degrees of the horizon” – nearly a quarter of a circle, stretched out to a view almost two metres long. The view was engraved by Daniel Havell in London, and printed in colour, a quite early example of a colour lithograph.

 

A view of the Grampian Mountains, from the Summit of Benclach the highest of the Ochill Hills / delineated and published by J. Gardner … 1820. C18:5 (93)

Making a point

What connects contraband, the Magna Carta, one-upmanship and the sin of earthly desire? The answer is Emanuel Bowen’s map from 1733, A New and Accurate Map of England and Wales’. 

In this map Bowen shows the roads throughout the country, with additional information on either the map or on the accompanying sheets giving distances from London and whether the roads are post, cross or ‘roads not to be found on Mr. Ogilby’s survey’ . If this was all the map did it would be a very good example of a common road map of the time (Bowen had produced earlier road maps that again had a dig at John Ogilby, with his ‘Britannia depicta or Ogilby improv’d’ set of road maps’ atlas). What sets this map apart from all others is the championing of the Members of Parliament that had recently voted against an Excise Bill. Introduced by Robert Walpole, generally regarded as the country’s first official Prime Minister, the Bill was intended to raise taxes on contraband goods while reducing the taxes of the rich landowners, appeasing those who had the power to vote. The idea that tax officers could go into people’s houses looking for such goods proved so unpopular – William Pitt, MP, led the rallying cry with ‘an Englishman’s house is his castle’ – that the Bill was quickly dropped. Bowen dedicates his map to the ‘the 205 members endear’d to their country by so seasonable an interposition in defence of it’s liberties’.  Bowen further emphasises this sense of liberty by evoking an earlier time when the Crown and right of rule was challenged. The arms of the Members of Parliament that voted against the BIll feature on two accompanying sheets, the coats of arms that appear underneath the map are for those Barons who forced King John to sign the Magna Carta in 1215, protecting rights and restricting the power of the Crown. To make the point further Bowen uses symbolism around the cartouche to reinforce this connection between the 1215 and 1733 opposition to the State and Crown

On the left is Liberty, here shown with a staff topped by a Liberty Cap (which dates back to Ancient Rome, and were worn by freed slaves) while on the right is Britannia, holding a copy of the Magna C[h]arta. The chained figure represents man enslaved by earthly desires. Bowen’s opposition to the Bill didn’t do him any harm in the long-run as he eventually became Royal Geographer to George II, despite the King supporting Walpole after the defeat of the Bill and the opposition in both Parliament and on the streets .

The Bodleian has four copies of the Magna Carta, the earliest from 1217, which can be viewed here

The ‘Mr Ogilby’ derided at every opportunity by Bowen is John Ogilby, who in 1675 published the first set of road maps done as a set of strips. Ogilby’s work was revolutionary, but due to reasons possibly nefarious left out some routes, more on his story can be found in an earlier blog here

A New and Accurate Map of England and Wales… Where unto are added… a list of Members… who voted for & against bringing in ye late Excise Scheme. 1733. (E) C17 (540)

A land of silver?

This beautiful map of part of the coast of Brazil has been in the Bodleian’s collections for many years. It was drawn to our attention recently by an enquiry from officials in the city of Fortaleza, part of the area which it represents.

The map is in an unusual style; a planimetric view of the coast from above gradually shifts as we look inland to a bird’s eye view of the mountains outlined against the sky as if in a picture. It shows the area around the fort, built by the Dutch West India Company in 1649 and first named Fort Schoonenborch (the name is spelt in several different ways on this map). The inland areas of forest around the river are beautifully depicted. North is towards the bottom of the sheet, as indicated by the compass rose. The text is in French, with a number of misspellings that suggest it may have been made by someone who was a not a good French speaker; the spelling of “Zud” instead of “Sud” for south in the title for example. The area was disputed by the Dutch and Portuguese, and the fort was handed over to the Portuguese in 1653. They renamed it Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora de Assunção; the area around it is now a substantial city, still called Fortaleza, capital of the north eastern state of Ceará.

The map includes a detailed plan of the fort, a section through and a numbered index locating its features. This would be useful military information. Some water depths are given around the fort; the map would be of practical use for anyone arriving by sea.

The map was found amongst the papers of Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon. Why is this hand drawn map of part of the coast of Brazil amongst the state papers of an adviser to an English king? The answer is in the accompanying written text described as a “Remonstrance concerning advantages for his sacred Majestie”, directed to Charles II. It explains that the map is a “true copy of an original gotten out of the secret cabinet of the Amsterdam West India Company”, and describes the enormous value of silver that exists to be mined in the area. The text appears to come from Balthazar Gerbier (who also refers to himself by the name Douvilly, a reference to a probably invented noble ancestor). At this time Gerbier, formerly a courtier, diplomat and art consultant, had fallen on hard times since the Restoration. He had previously taken part in an unsuccessful expedition to Guiana in search of gold. His extravagant claims regarding silver around Fortaleza do not appear to have been followed up.The hope of finding precious metal was an important part of exploration of the Americas by Europeans. This cartouche from a Dutch printed map of South America, from around the same time, shows South American people apparently smelting metal before well-dressed European gentlemen in ruffs and flamboyant hats; miners can be seen carrying their pick axes uphill in the background.

La description dela contrée de Chiara en Amerique á trois degrez du zud du temp que la Compagnie des Indes Occidentalos la possedoit, et y avoient erigé le fort Schonenbourg. 1649-1653,  MS. Clarendon 92 (f.179a)

Tractus australior Americae Meridionalis a Rio de la Plata per Fretum Magellanicum ad Toraltum. ca 1650. (E) H1:7 (2)

hey, you, get off my cloud…

In an already crowded field this has to be one of the more over the top cartouches.

A cartouche is a decorative part of the map that contains information such as the title, cartographer and other relevant text, and often uses symbolism to portray a meaning rooted in Renaissance thinking. It can also, in the case of this map, include a dedication to a person who is either the patron to the map-maker or subscriber to the map being made, the original crowd-funding. Here’s a guide to what is actually going on with this map of Surrey, dedicated to His Royal Highness William Henry.

Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh (1), grandson to King George II and brother to King George III, is surrounded by the the Nine Muses of Greek mythology, and with Geography, an additional Muse introduced during the Renaissance. The Muses are symbols for knowledge and the arts, and by portraying them and the Prince together the inference is that the Prince, and by association the map-makers, both deserve to be included in such lofty company. Amongst the Muses are Clio, who represents history and is usually shown with a book or a scroll and often a lyre (2), Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy (3) holding a dagger, Urania, associated with astronomy, usually shown with a globe, compass or armillary sphere (4) and, appropriately, Geography, shown with a telescope and other surveying tools (5). The Muses to the left of Prince William Henry draw his attention to lavish praise given in the cartouche.                                                                                                                                          Amongst this wealth of decoration is something that is easily over-looked but is as important at the time the map was made and now. Because of the lack of female cartographers Mary Ann Rocque deserves her place in the clouds (6). The title of the map is ‘A topographical map of the county of Surrey, in which is expressed all the roads, lanes, churches… the principal observations by the late John Rocque… compleated and engrav’d by Peter Andrews’ and this is the third edition,  from c1775. John Rocque died in 1762 and his wife Mary Ann carried on publishing maps after his death. Even though Rocque surveyed Surrey in preparation for this map it was Mary Ann who was responsible for the printing and selling of the work and it is Mary Ann, ‘his most h[um]ble and oblig’d servant’ who dedicates the map to the Prince. Mary Ann went on to make maps herself, eventually being awarded the title ‘Topographer to HRH the Duke of Gloucester’.

The skill involved in engraving the cartouche is apparent throughout the beautifully coloured map. This extract of the Horsell area shows off the skill involved in engraving such fine detail.

This is the only map that John Rocque and Peter Andrews worked on together though Andrews did further work for Mary Ann Rocque before concentrating on nautical charts. The two different colours on this extract are for separate Hundreds, a county division larger that a Parish. For different reasons Horsell features in an earlier blog post here

A topographical map of the county of Surrey, in which is expressed all the roads, lanes, churches… the principal observations by the late John Rocque… compleated and engrav’d by Peter Andrews. c1775 (E) C17:57 (31)