Hand coloured Road Map from Carlisle to Berwick on Tweed from John Ogilby‘s Britannia Atlas, 1675

Age:
1675
Material:
paper
Dimensions:
58.5 x 48
Shipping:
Standard Parcel
Price:
£ 210
This item is available to view and buy at:
13A Bangor Road
Edinburgh
EH6 5JY
Plate 62 of John Ogilby’s Britannia Atlas of 1675, Britain’s first road map, showing the route from Carlisle to Berwick on Tweed via Jedburgh and Kelso. Presented as a scrolled parchment, the road runs from the bottom of the page to the top in strips with landmarks marked on the way. Each strip has an accompanying compass rose to register changes of orientation. The border is marked as the road passes from Cumberland into Scotland and then into Northumberland.
The map is in good condition with minor age staining and creasing down the middle. The colours are bright and unfaded. It is mounted and framed in a Hogarth frame.
The map is embellished with a decorative pictorial title cartouche surrounded by garlands of fruit and the royal coat of arms. Gregory King is stated as surveyor and the miles between the towns given. It was the first English atlas on a uniform scale, at one inch to a mile, and the mile Ogilby used became the national standard, the statute mile of 1,760 yards. Ogilby claimed that 26,600 miles of roads were surveyed on foot in the course of preparing the atlas. One hundred strip road maps were included, accompanied by a double-sided page of text giving additional advice for the map‘s use. Each map covered a distance of about 70 miles.
The ‘Britannia‘ was an immediate commercial success. Although it is not possible to say how many examples were printed, four editions were needed in the first two years to meet the demand. After the ‘Britannia‘ was published, roads started being shown on county maps.
John Ogilby (1600-1676) was an enterprising Mapmaker and Entrepreneur who was appointed "His Majesty‘s Cosmographer and Geographic Printer" in 1674. He had started out as a dancing master until an accident left him with a limp for the rest of his life. Serving the Earl of Stafford as tutor to his children in Ireland, Ogilby went on to found the successful Theatre Royal in Dublin. Losing his commercial fortunes in the Civil Wars, he reconfigured himself as a translator, learning Latin for the purpose of an edition of Virgil. The success of this enterprise was followed by translations from the Greek. His property was destroyed in the Great Fire of London, so he moved to Whitefriars where he set up his business with a printing press, specialising in large and ambitious books. He was commissioned to produce three volumes of road maps but completed only one before his death in 1676.