Balloon-attic humour fails to travel
Posted 6 January, 2009 13:04 by Karla Baker
Alongside the more typical maps printed and published by Bartholomew one or two odd and eccentric maps can be found in the Printing Record.
After several hours of considered yet fruitless research, this map remains something of a mystery.
It is called “Our Warst War Map” and is subtitled “A bird’s-eye view by our own BALLOON-ATTIC”. Bartholomew printed 2070 copies on the 29 May 1877. This is by no means a substantial print run but is nevertheless unexpectedly large given the unusual nature of the map. It was printed for J. Miller & Son of Edinburgh under the working title “cartoon war map” and seems to relate to the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878).
At the centre of the map is the Black Sea. However, it all starts to go horribly wrong after that. For example, the map manages to squeeze north Poland to within a frightening proximity of Asia Minor and Dunblane can be found very slightly north of the Balkans. Several liberties with place names are also taken. Asia Minor is wittily renamed “Asiarp Minor” and the Caucasus Mountains become “Cook-asus Mountains or the Kitchen Range”.
Needless to say, accuracy was not the intention behind this map. Which begs the question, what was?
UPDATE – I am indebted to Mr Rod Barron who has kindly forwarded to me a little more information regarding the wider context of this map. Mr Barron informs me that the date of this map appears to coincide almost exactly with the more widely known “Octopus” map, A Serio-Comic War Map of 1877 by Fred W. Rose, published by G. W. Bacon. The Rose map is perhaps more politically inclined in contrast to Bartholomew’s more amusing map. Nevertheless, Bartholomew’s dabbling in this sort of map was very short lived so it is certainly interesting to know that two such maps were printed so closely together – perhaps Bartholomew were ever canny of an opportunity.