Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Sheldon Tapestry and the Weston Library

The official re-opening of the Weston Library took place over the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of March. After a four-year refit which saw the central book stack – eleven floors filled with books, maps, newspapers and everything else you could imagine (even a ghost on one of the floors) – taken out and re-placed by Blackwell Hall, a large open space open to the public and featuring permanent and temporary exhibitions of Library treasures. The current exhibition, Marks of Genius ( features some of the most celebrated items in the collection, amongst which is one of the Map Department’s most important possessions, The Gough Map (

Taking up a key position in the hall is the famous Sheldon Tapestry map of Worcestershire. Handwoven from wool and silk around 1590 this map is one of four large tapestries that were originally hung in Weston house, the home of Ralph Sheldon.

Tapestry Full_new_v2

Of the four tapestries, the Bodleian owns Worcestershire and Oxfordshire, both of which came to the Library in 1809 as part of a large donation by the antiquarian Richard Gough (it was in this donation that the Library also acquired the Gough Map). The Library owns parts of the Gloucestershire map while Warwickshire is on display at the Warwickshire Museum. Worcestershire has recently been conserved, a project involving the National Trust’s tapestry conservators. Details of how they achieved such spectacular results can be found here

The map is on display in the hall for at least the next year, while the Marks of Genius exhibition, including the Gough Map amongst other items, finishes on the 20th of September.

A list of selected accessions to the map collection in February 2015

Yellowstone National Park, 1907. United States General Land Office. F6:58 (39)

Map of the British Central Africa Protectorate, prepared from a drawing compiled at the Intell: Div: War Office for H.H. Johnston, C.B., H.M. Commissioner and Consul General, B.C.A. 1895. Royal Geographical Society (RGS), March 1895. E40 (194)

Karte des Europäischen Russlands und der Angrenzenden Länder, mit genauer bezeichung der strassen und angabe einiger historich-physikalisch-geaograpischen hauptomente, 1885. Justus Perthes. C40:6 (165)

Sketch map of Syria, Topographical Section, General Staff No 2067, 1907. Shows Aleppo to Medina railroad. D27 (142)

Railways of Greater Germany, Map No 2992, 1944. Branch of Research and Analysis, OSS. C22 (666)

Navarra, 1861. From the ‘Atlas de España y Sus Posesiones de Ultramar’. Includes text and plans of Pamplona, Estella and Tudela. C38:13 (14)

Nanga Parbat-Gruppe und nachbargebeite, 1936. From the Deutsche Himalaya-Expeition 1934. D11:3 (2)

Scheme of the Political and Administrative Divisions of the U.S.S.R., c1939. Also includes geological and mineral information. C40 (431)


Southeastern Siberia, ethnic groups, 1944. No 5904 – R & A, OSS. C40:4 (33) and Southeastern Siberia, distribution of population, 1944. No. 5903 – R & A, OSS. C40:4 (34)

Übersichtskarte für die Russischen Besitzungen in Mittelasien, c1900. Published by E.S. Mittler & Sohn, Berlin. D1:5 (60)

Alai-Pamir Expedition 1928. Fedtschenko-Tanimasgebiet, 1930. Joint publication by the ‘Notgemeinschaft der Deutschen Wissenschaft mit Unterstützung der Akademie der Wissenschaften der U.S.S.R’. C40:22 (11)

W & A.K. Johnston’s Russo-Japanese war map, 1904. D1:4 e.2

Paul Langhans: Die wirtschaftlichen beziehungen der Deutschen küsten zum meere, 1900. Justus Perthes. C22:1 (20)

The economic wealth of Germany, 1919. Supplement to The National Review, February 1919. C22 (668)

Compass traverse of a journey across the Ordos by Major George Pereira, 1911. RGS. D7 (138)

Panoramic view of the Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, c1900. U.S. Geological Survey. F6:45 (35)