Book review: A is for Atlas

The sub-title of A is For Atlas is ‘wonders of maps and mapping’ which is the perfect clue for the subject of our new online bookart course.

The compendium’s author is Curator of Cartography at Royal Museums Greenwich, who researches with a focus on nineteenth-century British Admiralty charts, charting and navigation, and twentieth-century map collecting. Rather than sticking to a linear timeline, the chapters run from A to Z via border, globe, instrument, observation, paper and treasure.

Three highlights (of many) in this book that I love:

– that the earliest known (terrestrial) globe was called an earth-apple (from the German ‘erdapfel’.)

– that for women in the UK and North America in the 1800s, embroidering maps was their key to geographical learning.

– that obsolete Admiralty charts made great surfaces for drawing and watercolour during the Second World War, when paper was rationed. Spoiler: They still do.

Be introduced to the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, think about perspectives, subjectivity and wonder where in the world we are.

If maps are your thing, mark an ‘x’ in your diary for the 3rd March 2023, as that’s when the next MapLove begins!

A is for Atlas: Wonders of Maps and Mapping, by Dr Megan Barford, is published by National Maritime Museum Greenwich. Look at this page to see filmed examples from the collection.

Purchase your copy of A is for Atlas from Golden Hare Books, and you’ll receive a 10% discount by using code bookbinderbookreview15 valid until 19 August.

2 thoughts on “Book review: A is for Atlas

  1. Looks wonderful Rachel! Have you come across ‘The Writers Map?’ Fabulous book 📔📚📔

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