Atlas: A World of Maps from the British Library


Tom Harper

Regular price €30.00

British Library Publishing, 2018.

Hardback, 256 pages.

From the publication in 1595 of the first ‘atlas’ by Flemish cartographer Gerhard Mercator, the term has become a universally adopted title for books containing accurate, uniform, and evenly spread maps of all or some of the world. This is an atlas with a difference. Few of the maps in this book could reasonably be called ‘accurate’ in the modern sense and could almost certainly not be used to plan a journey. Yet this atlas can help us to travel in a way that regular atlases do not, because by looking at old maps and getting to know their stories we can be transported back to the times in which they were made.The generous, full-colour illustrations of each map in this book range from the Klencke Atlas to Hokusai’s Map of China, from a 1682 pirate map of Guatemala to 20th-century cartographic postcards featuring maps of Australia. Atlas is the definitive printed showcase of the British Library’s extensive and unparalleled map collection.

Tom Harper is Lead Curator of Antiquarian Maps at the British Library. His publications include the British Library exhibition catalogue Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line, and A History of the Twentieth Century in 100 Maps, which he co-authored in 2014.