See the world’s most enlightening and precious cartography

If you are reading this and happen to be anywhere near London, England this summer you would do well to take a peek into the British Library and see this superb exhibition of ‘Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art’.

Tea Revives the World (British Library)

Tea Revives the World (British Library)

The exhibition demonstrates how closely related the three really are – from Pro-Bolshevik maps of the early 1900’s to the Psalter map of circa 1290 which positions east – believed to be the location of the Garden of Eden – at the top of the map and a variety of biblical illustrations around the world.

Marketing materials also play a part in the exhibition, evident in the International Tea Market Expansion Board’s world map of 1940 which suggests that national pride and tea can help to cure the world’s problems.

Meanwhile a Dutch businessman Johannes Klencke put anything that National Geographic or Rand McNally can do to shame with the giant world atlas he presented to King Charles II of England in 1660.

The Klencke Atlas (British Library)

The Klencke Atlas (British Library)

From Google Maps to iconic maps such as the London Underground subway map the exhibition shows Cartography in its simplest and most complex forms, with both subtle and highly outspoken messages.

If you can’t make it there, there is a great selection on the British Library website including full zoomify feature and detailed analysis provided, while London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper includes a look at some of the other exhibits here.

The exhibition runs until September 30th and admission is free!


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