• Ainslie, John. Scotland. [Edinburgh]: Thomas Brown, [c.1800]. 1 map: hand col.; 48 x 44 cm. Scale: [ca. 1:1,013,760].
    • John Ainslie (1745-1828) was the leading mapmaker of late 18th century Scotland. Unusually, he excelled at all three skills necessary for map production - surveying, drafting and engraving - and he also published maps. This map was first published in 1792, and sold by James Ainslie in Edinburgh (who was a brother or cousin). This later state was published by Thomas Brown, who then re-issued it in 1800, together with William Faden of London. Brown (1764-1820) was a prolific publisher of guidebooks, maps and atlases. The faint grid lines on the map, dividing it into nine sections, and the advertisement for Ainslie's 1789 Large map of Scotland, a huge map in nine sheets, suggest that this map also served as an index to the larger map.
  • Ainslie, John and Bald, William. The estate of Harwood belonging to William Elliot ... in the parish of Hobkirk and County of Roxburgh. Surveyed by John Ainslie and William Bald his assistant. [c.1803-5?] 1 manuscript map: hand col.
    • This splendid estate plan of Harwood (near Hawick) is typical of the period, showing the extent of the land holding, the tenants, type of land use, and various other information required for the management of such an estate. The title cartouche is an attractive pastoral scene of sheep, cows, shepherd, house and farm implements. It represents the profession of land surveying at its peak in Scotland, while agricultural improvement was at its height, and before the arrival of large scale Ordnance Survey maps in the mid-19th century removed the need for individual estate mapping.

      The National Library holds many printed maps by John Ainslie (1745-1828), but no manuscript estate plans. Such plans are usually still in private hands and the Library has been fortunate to acquire this example of Scotland's greatest land surveyor. As an added bonus, this plan is also associated with William Bald (1789-1857). Bald left school in Burntisland at the age of 12 and, after a brief period of schooling in Edinburgh, was apprenticed to John Ainslie, 'commencing his professional career 1803'. By 1805-6 he was competent to survey the Western Isles alone, which suggests that this plan of Harwood might have been produced during the early years of his apprenticeship, about 1803-5. Leaving Scotland in 1809, Bald had a successful career in Ireland as a prominent surveyor and road building engineer.

      The plan is accompanied by two other roller maps centred on the same estate. These consist of several Ordnance Survey maps stuck together, at 6-inches to 1 mile (1:10560) and 25-inches to 1 mile (1:2500). The latter map was hand-coloured by Katharine Elliot (later Baroness Elliot of Harwood) in 1938, with field names added in manuscript.

  • McBey, Peter. Plan of the lands and estate of Blervie, situated in the Parish of Rafford and county of Moray. Elgin: Peter McBey, 1852. Scale: 10 chains to 1 inch.
    • Early estate plans are usually in manuscript and relate to agricultural improvements. However the technique of lithography, developed at the beginning of the 19th century, made it possible for multiple copies to be printed cheaply, so estate plans from the mid-19th century tend to be printed, and were produced to accompany the schedule of an estate when it was sold. The Blervie estate is about 4 miles south-east of Forres. The plan divides the estate into lots, and gives a great deal of information about the land-use, and farming potential with notes such as 'heath with whins and seedling firs', 'wet pasture', 'school yard'. A short distance to the west of the castle is 'Templestones', four standing stones believed to be part of a stone circle.
  • Walker, Thomas H. Five manuscript hand-coloured apprentice maps prepared by Thomas H Walker, c. 1896:
    1. Scotland: [index map to Bartholomew half-inch series]. 70mm x 48mm. Framed
    2. .Physical map of Corsica. 142mm x 96mm. Framed with 3.
    3. [Map of Loch More-Ben Stack area of Sutherland]. 125mm x 144mm. Framed with 2.
    4. [Ceylon (Sri Lanka): relief map, with layer colours]. 192mm x 132mm
    5. [Indian subcontinent: physical map with hill shading]. 134mm x 124mm
    • These finely drawn hand coloured maps were prepared by Thomas H Walker during his six-year apprenticeship, starting in 1896, with the renowned Edinburgh mapmaking firm John Bartholomew & Co. His rigorous cartographic training included the mastering of a wide range of skills - hand lettering styles, map drawing and compilation, depiction of symbols and map design - many of which are shown in these rare apprentice pieces.

      The map of Loch More is a reduction exercise, copying from two Ordnance Survey maps at 1-inch to a mile, to the format of the Bartholomew half-inch to one mile map series, with relief layer colours. The mapmaker's art is such that it is difficult to distinguish this map from a printed map. The physical map of India is particularly unusual as it shows relief by hill shading, highlighted from the north west. The skill is to represent the slopes with the correct gradations and weight of mapping. Bartholomew were experimenting with this method in the 1890s, following a training visit from a German cartographer who was a proponent of the technique.

  • Soley, Ramon. Atles de Barcelona: [iconografia de la ciutat de Barcelona vistes i plànols impresos de 1572 a 1900]. [Barcelona]: Editorial Mediterrània, [1998].
    • The Atles de Barcelona is a magnificent work collecting together prints, views and maps showing the development of Barcelona over four centuries. The Map Library regularly receives request from architectural students who have been given the task of studying the architectural development of a European city. Such compendia provide invaluable research material, bringing together a wide variety of sources.

Return to index

Speak me