By: John Thomson
Date: 1816 (undated) Edinburgh
Dimensions: 19.75 x 24.75 inches (50.2 x 62.9 cm)
This striking Thomson work represents one of the earlier efforts by cartographers to depict the comparative heights of major mountains throughout the world which had been discovered by that time. Many had been only summarily explored or observed from afar and thereafter rendered in works similar to this representation by Thomson. The earliest of such charts focused primarily on Europe, but by the time Thomson was working, much more was known of the world and its great mountain ranges.
Thomson’s chart covers both hemispheres, showing the heights of various peaks and comparing them to cities, buildings, and even flora and fauna. The chart is strikingly modernistic in appearance, and aside from its scientific interest would be an interesting conversation piece, offering enormous amounts of information in fine print on either side of the image. Many volcanoes are represented and more than one hundred mountains are enumerated in the lists.
John Thomson (1777 - 1841) was a Scottish cartographer, publisher, and bookbinder active in Edinburgh during the early part of the 19th century. Thomson apprenticed under Edinburgh bookbinder Robert Alison. Thomson was one of the leading publishers in the Edinburgh school of cartography, which flourished in the early decades of the 19th century. Thomson and his contemporaries (Pinkerton and Cary) redefined European cartography by abandoning typical 18th century decorative elements such as elaborate title cartouches and fantastic beasts in favor of detail and accuracy.
Condition: This highly desirable map on beautiful heavy paper is in A condition. There is minor thinning of paper in three places which is scarcely detectable. One miniscule hole in the lower right quadrant, also difficult to detect. Minor offsetting.
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