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Manchester Geographical Society Map Project: Maps of Europe (#1) – Antiquarian maps

This is the first blog post in a series of three, and this post explores three maps of France, Greece and Italy by Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville.

We are now 11 months into the #ManGeogSoc Map Cataloguing project. This month, I completed inputting metadata, photographing and physically ordering a grand total of 1,006 map-sheets of Europe, including single sheets, multi-sheet and series maps, adding to the 1,106 maps of Africa already completed in March-August 2019. I still have some series mapping of Europe left to sort through and record. After this, all maps of Europe and Africa from the Manchester Geographical Society map collection will have been completed for the project.

This is the first blog post in a series of three, and this post explores three maps of France, Greece and Italy by Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville.

Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville was one of the most prolific cartographers of the 18th century. He began composing maps in his school years – he would create maps for Latin texts – and this interest in the cartography of antiquity was present throughout his life.  “Unlike most period cartographers, D’Anville did not rely exclusively on earlier maps to inform his work, rather he based his maps on intense study and research. His maps were thus the most accurate and comprehensive of his period – truly the first modern maps.” The maps that are featured below represent areas of Europe in ancient times.

The three copies that are shown below were all printed by Richard Holmes Laurie of No. 53 Fleet Street, London, and all published on the same day; 12th May 1821.

Richard Holmes Laurie lived from 1777 to 1858 and was the son of mezzotint engraver, Robert Laurie. Richard Holmes Laurie replaced his father in the partnership, ‘Laurie & Whittle’, when his father retired in 1812. The company name was reversed and so they became known as ‘Whittle & Laurie’. Under his influence, the partnership became known as a chartmakers and publishers. After Whittle’s death in 1818, he traded under R. H. Laurie, and was publishing only nautical materials by around 1830.

Gallia Antiqua ex Aevi Romani Monumentis eruta, et Serenissimi Carnutum Ducis Munificentia Publicijuris Facta. MDCCLX.

The map below illustrates Ancient Gaul, which was an area of land that includes present day France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and parts of Italy, Netherlands and Germany. The larger inset map details Gaul’s southern-most Roman Provinces. Featured upon this map are both ancient and contemporary place names, which therefore make this map an invaluable resource.


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Graeciae Antiquae Specimen Geographicum. MDCCLXII.

This map illustrates Ancient Greece and includes Macedonia, Thessaly and the Peloponnese. The inset map depicts areas north of Greece. The illustrative cartouche displays an ancient Greek woman lounging against a Tuscan column while two cherubic children create art.


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Tabula Italiae Antiquae Geographica Quam Excellentissimus Dominus Dux De La Rochefoucauld in aere incidi curavit. MDCCLXIV.

This map illustrates Ancient Italy from Lake Geneva to Sicily, including the entire Italian peninsula. This copy has been hand-coloured. The circular inset map details the area around Rome, and in the bottom-left corner the inset map shows a city plan of Rome and names the seven hills.


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With thanks to Geographicus for their useful online information, and to the Imaging team for digitising these wonderful maps.

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