In 1857, amidst the streets of London, a very remarkable map was crafted with great detail and precision.
Known as the “Post Office Directory Map of London,” this piece was drawn and engraved expressly for the Post Office Directory, a testament to the era’s dedication to accuracy and innovation.
This New Map of London, copied with permission from the “Post Office London Directory,” boasted a revolutionary Patent Index, a cutting-edge feature that enabled users to locate any place on the map with mathematical certainty. Available for purchase at the modest price of Two Shillings plain or Three Shillings colored, it showcased the city’s evolving landscape, including the newly established postal districts.
Crafted by Kelly & Co., the map’s printing offices located at 18 to 21 Old Boswell Court, Clements Inn, Strand (W.C.), this piece stands as a remarkable artifact of its time. Preserved in very good to fine condition, this example also includes its original cloth tape. Antique maps of this sort offer a glimpse into the cartography and technological advancements of 19th-century London.
City Maps in the Mid-19th Century
Around the 1850s, maps were not only practical tools for navigation and commerce but also works of art and symbols of power and prestige. Cartographers crafted maps by hand, incorporating geographical surveys, mathematical calculations, and artistic flourishes to create accurate representations of the world.
During this era, maps played a crucial role in expanding empires, facilitating trade routes, and documenting territories. They were used by explorers, merchants, and governments alike to navigate uncharted waters, delineate borders, and assert territorial claims.
Advancements in Technology Applied to Maps
In the mid-19th century, technological advancements such as lithography revolutionized map production, making maps more accessible and affordable to the general public. The rise of commercial map publishers like Kelly & Co. in London led to the mass production of maps for commercial, educational, and governmental purposes.
Today, certain antique maps from the mid-19th century are highly collectible and prized for their historical significance, artistic beauty, and cultural value. Collectors are drawn to maps from this period for their intricate details, unique cartographic features, and connections to significant historical events and figures.
The rarity, condition, and provenance of an antique map can greatly influence its collectibility and auction value. Maps that document important historical events, showcase innovative cartographic techniques, or feature notable cartographers are particularly sought after by collectors and institutions.