A splash of colour

Few things in my corner of the rare booktrade seem to cause as much confusion and consternation as the colouring of maps: when, by whom and why? Commercially viable colour-printing didn’t really take off until the mid nineteenth-century, and there’s a transitional period of at least thirty years or so…

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Dawn of the folding world

The presentation of maps – how they were bought and sold and how they were first used – is something I think about rather a lot (far too much?) It’s important to recall that virtually all early map-makers were businessmen first, artists and scientists second. There was little state-sponsored map-making,…

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A cadger’s map of Kent

Keeping on with the theme of Victorian social history, in a recent house-call I picked up a latish edition of John Camden Hotton’sSlang Dictionary, 1885. Not of great commercial value, but irresistible. Hotton himself is fun – a bookseller, publisher (and pornographer) who founded Chatto & Windus. There’s a peculiar…

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