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Geological and Paleaontological Map of the British Isles by Alexander Keith Johnston, 1856

1856 Geological and Paleaontological Map of the British Isles

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By: Alexander K. Johnston

Date: 1856 (published) Edinburgh

Dimensions: 20 x 24 inches (51 x 61 cm) each sheet 

This offering consists of two beautifully coloured, unusual maps on one folio  sheet. One is entitled  Geological and Paleaontological Map of the British Isles. The other is called Paleaontological Map. The maps approximately divide the British Isles into northern and southern halves. They were published in the second edition of Johnston's Physical Atlas of Natural Phenomena, out of Edinburgh by William Blackwood & Sons in 1856. Johnston composed the maps using sketches and notes of Professor Edward Forbes, F.R.S. of Kings College London. 

Johnston chose to illustrate the maps lavishly. The skull and antlers of an Irish elk are at top centre of the first map. Between the antlers is the heading 'Tertiary and Post Tertiary Tertiary Mammalia'. Fossils of other ancient mammalian creatures are depicted nearby including hyena, mammoth and cave lion, all of which had lived in the British Isles and whose fossils have been found there.

To the left of the centre illustrations are images of various fish fossils dating to the  Pleistocene Era. The upper right contains images of fossilized vertebrates labeled 'Secondary Reptiles. Below these images is a map of the northern portion of the British Isles. The second map features the lower portion of the Isles and is also beautifully illustrated. The region covered is approximately the lower half of the Isles. The fossils depicted are groups of ammonites, which he states are primarily 'Lower Secondary'. Both maps feature numerous insets with scientific information regarding the features depicted in the maps, and much information regarding the life of past geologic periods as known from fossil remains.  

At the time of publication, Alexander Keith Johnston's Physical Atlas of Natural Phenomena was one of the most comprehensive geographic works of its time  focusing on natural science. Johnston described the motivations and focus of his work in the preface as follows; The object originally contemplated in this work was to present, in a graphic form, a concise yet comprehensive view of the Physical Geography of the Globe, embracing under that term its superficial structure, the movements of its aerial and oceanic currents, and the distribution of organized existence on its surface. 

Accompanying the map is the original letterpress description from the atlas that  discusses in detail the methodology, science, and theory used in creating a cartographic work of this scope. 

Condition: Map is in A condition presenting a attractive and vivid imprint on heavy paper with full margins on all sides. Some faint offsetting is apparent, otherwise a superb, clean image with bold color.

Inventory #12557

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