The Curious Map Book, Hardback


Mapmaking has always been a serious business, whether surveying property limits, marking international boundaries or plotting lines of travel.

Yet cartographers of all periods had a sense of humour, and mapmakers often used their artistic talents to create maps not for strictly geographical purposes but for the pleasure and entertainment of others.

In this book, an expert cartographic researcher uncovers 100 curious, entertaining maps, drawn mainly from the unrivalled map collection in the British Library.

Many of the maps depict countries in human or animal form, among them the famous 'Leo Belgicus' - the Low Countries in the shape of a lion.

Many of the maps featured here were created for recreational play, with the secondary purpose of educating through enjoyment, including some of the very earliest cartographical game-maps, jigsaws, playing-card maps and even a jigsaw globe.With advances in printing techniques, publishers found they could affix maps to all manner of objects, often commemorative, such as the tankard celebrating Nelson's victory at Trafalgar in 1805.

There are also maps on cups and saucers, tea towels, umbrellas, scarves and commemorative medals. Through images of these maps and many more, this amusing and unusual book reveals the little-known playful side of mapmaking.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The British Library Publishing Division
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Historical maps & atlases
  • ISBN: 9780712356190



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