Picture Special: Magnificent Maps - Power, Propaganda and Art at the British Library

By Culture24 Staff | 27 January 2010
a photograph of two people standing either side of an enormous book

(Above) The Klencke Atlas, 1660 © 2010 The British Library Board.

Exhibition: Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art, British Library, London, April 30 – September 19 2010

This summer's spectacular from the British Library will display 100 of the greatest maps in the world, many of which have never been on public display before.

Drawing on the Library's unrivalled four-and-a-half-million piece cartographic collection, Magnificent Maps will showcase treasures dating from 200AD to the present day.

"Maps are often pictorial encyclopaedia's that are about far more than just geography," said Peter Barber Head of Map Collections at the British Library.

"Magnificent Maps is a visual extravaganza which will, I hope, intrigue, fascinate and entrance visitors while challenging their assumptions about the very nature and purpose of maps." (Peter is pictured above with the Klencke Atlas).

Exhibition Highlights

The Klencke Atlas, 1660

A photograph of a man standing next to a large book

Intended to be a summary of the world's knowledge, the Klenke Atlas (pictured with Tom Harper, Curator of Antiquarian Mapping) is the largest book in the world. It was produced for the exclusive appreciation of Charles II on his restoration to the English throne and will be on show for the first time to the general public. © 2010 The British Library

Confiance – ses Amputations se Poursuivent, 1944

A poster of a map with a large octopus on it

A German propaganda poster portraying Churchill as an octopus, drawing on earlier comic maps. © 2010 The British Library Board

Chinese Terrestrial Globe by Nicola Longobardi / Bartolomeo Dias, 1623

a photograph of a globe on a wooden stand

The earliest Chinese terrestrial Globe, made by Jesuit missionaries for the Chinese Emperor. © 2010 The British Library Board

Americae, sive quartae orbis partis, nova et exactissimaby Diego Gutierrez / Hieronymus Cock,1562

a photograph of a black and white map

A map to flatter King Philip II of Spain and celebrate the Spanish domination of the New World. © 2010 The British Library Board

World Map by Pierre Desceliers, 1550

a photograph of a map that is covered with small picture details

(Above) A compendious world map made for the King of France, celebrating the discoveries of Jacques Cartier in Canada, and showing the myths, animals and natural history in their correct place in the world. © 2010 The British Library Board

A Chart of the Mediterranean Sea by Diogo Homem, 1570

a photograph of a map embellished with gold leaf

(Above) A luxury map with gold leaf possibly produced for royalty, made after Homem fled from exile in Morocco for his involvement in a murder in Portugal. © 2010 The British Library Board

Nova Illustrissimi Principatus Pomeranie Descriptio by Erhard Lubin, 1618

A photograph of a map surrounded by portraits of people

(Above) This map tells the tragic tale of Pomerania, a small land on the Baltic coast of Northern Europe. © 2010 The British Library Board

Plan of the Parish of Smallburgh, John Darby 1582

a photograph

(Above) This estate map is one of the earliest, largest and most beautiful of its type to have survived. © 2010 The British Library Board

For more information about the exhibition go to the British Library website.

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