Historical first atlas of Scotland is reproduced

New publication of the pioneering Blaeu Atlas

The National Library of Scotland, in association with publishers Birlinn Ltd, has recently published a new facsimile edition of the groundbreaking Blaeu Atlas of Scotland.

The original Atlas, Joan Blaeu's splendid Theatrum orbis terrarum sive Atlas Novus (Vol. V), was published in 1654 and is of immense historical and geographical significance. It was effectively the first atlas of Scotland and provides a unique view and record of Scotland 350 years ago.

Produced as closely as possible to the format and size of the original edition, the exclusive, high quality 21st century edition contains images taken directly from the original Blaeu Atlas Novus, which is held in the collections of the National Library of Scotland.

Chris Fleet, Deputy Map Curator at the National Library of Scotland says: 'The Blaeu Atlas is a stunning graphic and textual celebration of Scotland. It is a sumptuous work of great colour and beauty, a cartographic "feast for the eyes", as well as a uniquely important snapshot of mid-17th century Scotland. Through the Blaeu Atlas, the pioneering surveys of Scotland's first map-maker, Timothy Pont, were first put into print, and enhanced by maps and descriptions from a distinguished array of historians, geographers, politicians, and ministers. The Blaeu Atlas is enduringly popular today, and through this landmark publication, we are delighted to be associated with its wider availability in print.'

With beautiful reproductions of all 48 original hand-coloured maps of Scotland, this new edition also features a complete English translation of the Latin text of the original, by the distinguished classics scholar, I C Cunningham, formerly Keeper of Manuscripts, Maps and Music at the National Library.

The edition also contains a foreword by T C Smout, Historiographer Royal for Scotland, and an introductory essay setting the Atlas in context, by Professor Charles Withers, Professor of Historical Geography at the University of Edinburgh. Other material published for the first time, including original letters written by the Blaeu publishers, illustrates how the Atlas was first created.

The Atlas is available now in larger bookshops throughout Scotland and via the Birlinn website - www.birlinn.co.uk.


National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge

Tel: 0131 623 3700


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26 January 2007

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