Maps are produced for
a variety of purposes and in a variety of formats. In an obvious way, they
are used to guide travellers, to show property boundaries, to illustrate
local histories and to plan future development but, more subtly, they can
also be seen to reflect their owner's wealth and position - hence, the
beautiful calligraphy and engraving and the fine binding of the eleven
volumes of the Blaeu Atlas Major
(1662) or the detailed naming of the gentry on many county surveys. In
addition, maps are the product of consumer demand and help illustrate
areas or subjects of topical interest.
This exhibition of
thirty maps seeks to display a cross-section of the University Library's
Scottish holdings and, thereby, give an impression of their variety.
Although a poor country on the edge of European culture Scotland has a
unique position in the history of cartography and has produced many
map-makers of international renown. Here are displayed manuscripts and
printed sheets, large-scale volumes from atlases of the world and pocket
books of individual counties, coastal charts, town plans and other
thematic delineations. The individual items also reflect something of the
nation's history - most clearly seen in the maps of the colonial failure
in Panama and the battle plan of Prestonpans.
Detail of map showing part of the Shetland Islands.
Published in 1749 as part of
Geographia Scotiae: being new and correct maps of all the
islands in the Kingdom of Scotland.