It is with great pleasure that I am able to bring you news of the National Library of Scotland’s winter exhibition, Putting Scotland on the Map: The World of John Bartholomew and Son which opened today.
This exhibition tells the story of a great Scottish, cartographic institution. From the charismatic members of the Bartholomew family to the firm’s highly skilled and loyal staff; told through oral history recordings, hand-made tools and of course, their amazing maps themselves, you are encouraged to look back at a time when an atlas could take six years to complete, and each colour was printed one at a time.
As a firm and as individuals Bartholomew gave us, amongst other things, the maps for Lawrence of Arabia’s memoir ‘The Seven Pillars of Wisdom’, the popularisation of Antarctica as the name of the southern continent and of the pink colouring of the British Empire on political maps. They also gave us the map for Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’ in the Edinburgh Edition, and perhaps even the first edition too as well as the establishment of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and even the National Library of Scotland’s own maps reading room. But perhaps most importantly, they helped to change the way we see the world forever, when the firm adopted and popularised contour-layer colouring; used to such effect in the seminal ‘Survey Atlas of Scotland’ and the ‘Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World’.
This free exhibition can be visited in our main George IV Bridge building until 7th May 2013. Opening times are: Monday to Friday – 10.00-20.00; Saturday – 10.00-17.00 and Sunday – 14.00-17.00.