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Mercator’s ‘Septentrionalium Terrarum descriptio’: mapping the Northern lands.
By Tim / 04/03/2012

Another old friend for your consideration. Mercator’s depiction of the Arctic regions and North Pole (Septentrionalium Terrarum descriptio) remains perennially popular with collectors and scholars alike. Perhaps I’m coming too late to the table for fresh analysis of the content, but few maps capture the problems faced by early cartographers quite so well. The basic…

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The course of true love
By Tim / 13/02/2012

I’m not much of a one for Valentine’s Day in the ordinary run of things, but I feel like making a special effort this year. So here are one or two whimsical ‘maps of matrimony’ – a popular nineteenth century genre which seems to have fallen by the wayside. You can make up your own…

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Lend me ten pounds and I’ll buy you a drink…
By Tim / 07/01/2012

For many people January is the season of moderation, and some particularly hardy souls (I’m told) even contemplate abstinence. Certain strands of the British media have coined and attempted to popularise the toe-curlingly awful term ‘Janopause’ to describe this practice, and if that’s not enough to have one reaching for a corkscrew I don’t know…

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Quantitative easing, bubbles, and a fool’s cap map
By Tim / 30/12/2011

I’ve had a run of luck unearthing cartoon and satirical maps lately, which is why they have dominated the last couple of posts, and I might as well round off the old year with one more. As financial crises (well, one enormous financial crisis really) have dominated the headlines all year this Dutch map seems…

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The Indies Must Be Free! A Japanese octopus, 1944
By Tim / 26/12/2011

  In this context “Indie Moet Vrij” means that the Dutch East Indies should be Dutch again. Pat Keely’s poster, printed in London c. 1944, was presumably aimed at those Free Dutch troops still in England and, as the war progressed, the population of the partially liberated Netherlands. The end of the war in the…

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Satirical maps of the Great War, 1914-15
By Tim / 26/12/2011

In one of my first posts I covered cartoon and satirical maps in a very general way. They have a long history, reaching back to the mediaeval period if not beyond, but they gained a new currency in the mid nineteenth-century, with fine examples associated with the Crimean War and the Great Eastern Crisis. As an…

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Visions of Britain 1914-15
By Tim / 26/12/2011

I don’t want to repeat too much I’ve just said in my previous post (and probably a good idea to read that first), but I thought it might be fun to compare the different depictions of the British Isles. One tends to encounter the plucky bulldog of Walter Emanuel’s “Hark! hark! the dogs do bark!”…

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Book tokens, eighteenth century style
By Tim / 19/12/2011

The National Book Tokens scheme goes back to 1932. I imagine that this is their busiest time of year, and I was always happy to be given book tokens myself when I was a kid: I always wanted more books, and I had a pretty good idea which books I wanted. I didn’t realise that…

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A Merry Christmas to Everybody!
By Tim / 19/12/2011

My favourite time of year, and here’s a fine map-related greetings card for you all:   It’s in postcard form, probably taken in a French studio early in the First World War (and although the props were probably lying around there for a while, note that the model’s 1907 pattern bayonet still has a curved…

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British lighthouses charted, and a rare peek inside Wylde’s monster globe: Chelsea 2011
By Tim / 11/11/2011

I’ve just spent an agreeable couple of days at the annual ABA bookfair in Chelsea Old Town Hall. I’ve wriggled out of exhibiting at fairs for more than a decade (with the honourable exception of the London Map Fair on the grounds that a). it’s the largest specialist fair of it’s kind in Europe and b). I’m…

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