By: John Thomson
Date: 1815 (Published) Edinburgh
Dimensions: 19.75 x 23.75 inches (50.17 x 60.33 cm)
This superb large format map from Thomson’s New General Atlas features Prussia and its dominions following the Napoleonic Wars and the treaties resulting from the 1815 Congress of Vienna. The map is engraved in the minimalist English style pioneered in the early part of the 19th century, a style which reduced maps’ decorative elements to a minimum. Relief is shown by hachure with towns, cities, and major topographical features identified. Following the Congress, Prussia thus became the dominant Germanic power with new borders inside which lay portions of Poland, Saxony and Rhineland. Prussia’s primary goal had been to expand its territories’ reach to the extent that it would become a truly great power, and in later years Prussia would take a leading role in the governance of the German Confederation.
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.
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