The earliest map of a North-East city that was created by a map illustrator is displayed as part of an exhibit that intends to shed light on the history of the ancient art of cartography. Rare maps including the first few editions of what is now known as the world’s first modern atlas will be shown at Durham Cathedral with a number of maps charting the city and surrounding areas.
According to Shaun McAlister, exhibition assistant at Durham Cathedral, Mapping the World will provide people with an opportunity to explore an extraordinary range of rare and exquisite maps, charts and atlases from the collection of Durban Cathedral Library.
The artifacts have been collected over the centuries by the Benedictine monastic community and later on by the clergy of Durham Cathedral. The maps that will be displayed show how cartography developed and allowed exploration to become a safe enterprise.
There are illustrated maps that contain an amazing amount of accurate detail with various ships and sea monsters that warned travelers of the dangers they can expect from the seas. The exhibit will explore the growth of interest in map making from the 15th to the 19th century. It will also show how the use of maps evolved from documents to journey records that were invaluable tools for navigating the world.
One of the maps that will be displayed is the 16th century reproduction of 150AD Roman map by Ptolemy. The map contains complete geographical information on the Roman Empire. Another map is one of the few surviving 1st edition volumes of Ortelius’ Theater of the World that was published in 1570 and considered as the world’s first modern atlas.
On display is one of the earliest printed maps of Durham County that was created in the 16th century by cartographer Christopher Saxton. The map shows pictorial details of towns and landmarks that include Durham Cathedral and rivers Were Flu and Derwent Flu.
The objective of the map illustrator in creating illustrated maps of towns and cities is to provide ease in identification and navigation. Illustrated maps are a fantastic source of information compared to the basic maps that are used by people today.