Month of Maps
Month of Maps, January 2017 sees us present three exhibitions and three catalogues in three weeks: 17th Century Oxford; Maps of the Ancient World & Maps; Maps, Maps a catalogue of recent cartographic acquisitions.
17th Century Oxford. From Medieval Town to Royal City.
An exhibition of Antique plans, panoramas and county maps of Oxford and Oxfordshire. 13th - 27th January, 2017.
“He that hath Oxford seen, for beauty, grace
And healthiness, ne’er saw a better place.
If God Himself on earth abode would make
He Oxford, sure, would for His dwelling take.”
Daniel Rogers, Clerk to the Council of Queen Elizabeth. Rogers’ Latin verses featured in Radulph Aggas’ description of Oxford University, 1578.
In the seventeenth century Oxford recovered from its long decline of the later Middle Ages, the city's appearance was transformed by a period of intensive building, the emergence of grand college building projects and the provision of houses for the burgeoning population, is clearly documented in the fascinating collection of panoramas, plans and county maps featured in this exhibition. “With a few notable exceptions—the cathedral, St. Mary's church, the Divinity School, parts of Magdalen, Merton, and New College—the Oxford of the guide books, its towers and pinnacles, its quadrangles and high-walled gardens, was the creation of that period, as was most of the surviving domestic building of any antiquity. Much was destroyed, beginning with the removal in the mid-16th century of the houses of Black, Grey, White, and Austin friars, and the abbeys of Oseney and Rewley, their buildings used as quarries to provide stone for colleges, houses, and garden walls. Later, as the university's population increased sharply, the colleges rebuilt and heightened their existing buildings, and then acquired and rebuilt the neighbouring properties. The townsmen, equally hungry for space, crowded their houses against both sides of the medieval town wall, of which much was built over and quarried away. The town's west and south gates disappeared in the earlier 17th century. The castle's steady decay was accelerated by the Civil War and its aftermath. The ravages of time and fire, the exigencies of fashion, brought down most of the medieval domestic buildings. The basic street plan, however, changed little, and the great medieval bridges to the south and east of the city, though desperately decayed, survived until the era of Improvement in the late 18th century and early 19th.”
The exhibition and accompanying catalogue offers for sale the largest collection of seventeenth century maps and panoramas of Oxford and Oxfordshire since the Magna Gallery, Oxford catalogue of 1987. Highlights include the Civil War era city plan by Wenceslaus Hollar, a rare and finely etched bid’s-eye view of the city produced during the Civil War as a result of the sudden and new importance of Oxford as the royalist headquarters from the end of 1642.
Also included in the exhibition is a fine first edition of David Loggan’s Oxonia Illustrata, the first illustrated book on Oxford and one of the major works of the seventeenth century. It was in 1665 that David Loggan was appointed engraver to the university and began work on his celebrated Oxonia Illustrata, which was published in 1675. Assisted by Michael Burghers and Robert White, Loggan carefully drew and engraved bird’s-eye views of the colleges and major buildings of Oxford, together with the most detailed plan of seventeenth century Oxford and two important prospects of the city, preceded only by Georgius Hoefnagel’s view of 1575 and Meisner’s reduced copy c. 1630, impressions of all of these seminal works feature in this exhibition. Loggan’s engravings are important individually as the first engraved views of all the colleges and halls, but as a whole they present an impressive and unrivaled visual record of Oxford in the seventeenth century.
The exhibition also features a fascinating collection of seventeenth century county maps, including an excellent first edition example of John Speed’s famous Oxfordshire map, from ‘The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine’, the first atlas of the British Isles (1611), the most decorative map of the county; Michael Burghers elaborately adorned map for Robert Plot's ‘The Natural History of Oxfordshire...’ (1676) , and a rare playing card map by Robert Morden, the first map of the county to feature the road network, which itself was mapped in Ogilby’s Britannia of 1675, the first road atlas of England and Wales; all five plates from this revolutionary atlas featuring miniature plans of Oxford, are also included the exhibition and catalogue.
 Eleanor Chance, Christina Colvin, Janet Cooper, C J Day, T G Hassall, Mary Jessup and Nesta Selwyn, 'Early Modern Oxford', in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 4, the City of Oxford, ed. Alan Crossley and C R Elrington (London, 1979), pp. 74-180. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/oxon/vol4/pp74-180 [accessed 6 January 2017].
London Map Fair
This summer we will be returning to exhibit at the largest Antique Map Fair in Europe. Established 1980 the fair is located at the historic London venue of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS). The event brings together around 40 of the leading national and international antiquarian map dealers as well as hundreds of visiting dealers, collectors, curators and map aficionados from all parts of the world. A very large selection of Original Antique Maps will be available for sale, ranging in age from the 15th C. to the 20th C., covering all parts of the world and priced to suit all pockets: from £10 to £100,000.
If you would like us to bring along anything in particular just let us know.
Royal Geographical Society
1 Kensington Gore
London SW7 (Entrance Exhibition Road)
Saturday 17th June 2017; 12.00 pm to 7.00 pm
Sunday 18th June 2017; 10.00 am to 6.00 pm