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16th Century
17th Century
18th Century
19th Century

Maps for a Small Country

An exhibition of historical maps and atlases of Scotland,
held in Glasgow University Library

17th Century

. Fifae Vicecomitatus. The Sherifdome of Fyfe. In Atlas Novus. Vol.5. German edition following p99. Amsterdam: 1654.
420 x 520mm. Scale c1'':1 .88 Scots mls.
Mu2 - x.15

Based largely on the work of a Scots Minister Timothy Pont - 36 of the 46 regional plates are directly attributed to him - this beautiful work was the first printed atlas to cover Scotland, making it one of the best mapped countries in the world. Many of the original survey manuscripts, dating from a period c1583-1596, are still held in the National Library of Scotland and the long and complicated history of the whole publication is a fascinating study.

The recent researches of Dr. Jeffrey Stone have shown that the editorial work once credited to Robert and James Gordon is largely related to their native northeast and, therefore, with certain reservations, much of the atlas displays a late sixteenth century landscape. This map, however, is clearly stated to be the work of the younger Gordon, parson of Rothiemay, and dates from a survey of the 1640's.

Detail of map showing area of Fife
around Loch Levin.
Click on image to enlarge.

Bibliography: CASH, C. G. ''The first topographical survey of Scotland" Scottish Geographical Magazine, vol. 17, 1901 , p399-414. MOIR D.G. and SKELTON,R.A. ''New light on the first atlas of Scotland'' Scottish Geographical Magazine, vol.84, 1968, pp149-159. R.S.G.S. op cit pp37-53. STONE J.C. ''The Blaeu atlas of Scotland" Map collector no.10, 1980, pp25-29,50-52. STONE, J.C. The Pont Manuscript Maps of Scotland. 1989.

Detail of map showing section of the
River Forth.
Click on image to enlarge.

ADAIR, John. The River of Forth Surveyed by John Adair. Manuscript, c1685.
488 x 345mm. c1:126,720 or c1'':2mls.
Mu3 - x.5

John Adair was one of the most outstanding, yet enigmatic, cartographers of the seventeenth century with a sizeable production of both sea charts and land maps. However, his lack of success in their publication, his constant struggle for adequate financial support and his disputes with Sir Robert Sibbald and John Slezer have hampered a true evaluation of his achievement. It is possible that the apparent ease of financing hydrographical charts through tunnage dues levied on skippers may have prompted Adair to concentrate on coastal surveys but the duplication of effort between Adair and Greenvile Collins, who had begun a maritime survey of the British coast in 1681, is still confusing.
In this instance, the lack of scale or compass direction may indicate that this was either a rough draft or another of Adair's uncompleted documents. The upper Forth estuary was included in his manuscript ''Mappe of the Countrie about Stirling'' of 1685 and, in comparison with the printed map of the Firth of Forth in his sea atlas, this chart can be seen as a continuation with a slight overlap around the area of Hound Point suggesting a complete survey of the estuary. The discovery of this manuscript re-awakens the belief that other Adair manuscripts may still exist unknown.Bibliography: INGLIS, H.R.G. ''John Adair: an early map-maker and his work'' Scottish Geographical Magazine, voI.34, 1918, pp60-66. MOORE, J.N. ''Manuscript charts by John Adair: a further discovery'' Scottish Geographical Magazine, vol. 101, 1985, pp105-110. R.S.G.S. op cit pp65-78.
ANON. A New Map of the Isthmus of Darian in America & Bay of Panama, the Gulph of St. Michal with its Islands, & Countries Adjacent. ln A letter giving A Description of the Isthmus of Darian, Edinburgh: 1699.
166 x 252mm.
Spencer 19 (previously Bh19 - a.19)
The last and most expensive of Scotland's colonial schemes, the three expeditions to found a settlement on the Isthmus of Panama proved to be an economic disaster destroying the bright hopes of founding an entrepot to direct the trade of two oceans. After the withdrawal of English support, Scotland put up 400,000 herself, equivalent to almost the entire value of her coinage. The failure of the scheme resulted in the loss of some 2,000 souls and over half the investment, leading to great national anger and a sense of damaged pride. ANON. a New Map of ye Isthmus of Darien in America, The Bay of Panama, The Gulph of Vallona or St. Michael, with its Islands and Countries Adjacent.
285 x 465mm. Scale 1'':105mIs.
Spencer e2 (previously Bh19 - y.14)

Detail of Spencer 19 map showing
part of the Isthmus of Darian.
Click on image to enlarge.

The Spencer 19 map appears to be based partly on one produced by the buccaneer surgeon, Lionel Wafer in ''A New Voyage and Description of the Isthmus of America'' 1699 [Wing W193] and is a close copy of a section of Spencer e2. Wafer's original manuscript journal and maps had been shown to the Court of Directors of the ''Company trading to Africa and the Indies". The sheet is dedicated to John, Marquis of Tweeddale, son of the King's Commissioner who had given the Royal Assent to the original Act for the Company and himself an enthusiastic supporter of trade. It is thought that the map was produced between the failure of the first colony and the second expedition. In the same year, Herman Moll produced a map, The Scots Settlement in America called New Caledonia, based on an original draught.

Detail of Spencer e2 map
showing part of the
Isthmus of Darian.
Click on image to enlarge.