Maps and Town Plans of Scotland
Old Maps of Scotland
Old Scottish County Maps 1600-1799
Old Scottish County Maps 1800-1899
Scottish Coastal Surveys
Our Maps of Scotland are a collection of coastal surveys, county maps and Scottish town plans dating back hundreds of years. The Maps of Scotland available can provide an interesting and valuable resource into peoples lives and heritage.
The earliest known representation of Scotland in map form is in the map of the British Isles in the eight-book Geographia of Claudius Ptolemaeus (known as Ptolemy) who lived between c.90 and c.150 A.D. For reasons that are unclear, Scotland is correctly placed to the north of England in this map, but instead of a largely northwards orientation, the country is shown tilted eastwards. Ptolemy's Scotland may be inaccurately mapped, but the 're-discovery' of Ptolemy's Geographia and its publication in Renaissance Italy from 1477 revolutionised the nature of global and large-scale geographical representation. Differences between his claims and the direct experience of the world reported by Renaissance navigators and geographers raised questions of a conceptual and practical nature concerning the shape and extent of the world.
Maps of Scotland
The earliest printed Map of Scotland on its own, 'Scotia', dates from about 1564. Although the map derives from one of Britain produced in 1546 by George Lily. 'Scotia' is probably engraved by Paolo Forlani, who was known to have worked in Venice; then an important centre for mapmaking. At much the same time, Alexander Lyndsay - a Scottish coasting pilot - produced a map of Scotland in association with King James V's partial circumnavigation of the country in 1540, although the map was not published until 1583.
From the later seventeenth century, royal and civil recognition of the importance of maps was evident in Scotland in the appointment of Sir Robert Sibbald as Geographer Royal from 1682, and in the funding of John Adair by the Privy Council and the Parliament of Scotland to undertake the country's mapping. From the second half of the eighteenth century, a 'new beginning' for map-making was apparent in Scotland in the rise of estate maps and - between 1747 and 1755 - in the work of the Military Survey. By the turn of the nineteenth century, estate maps undertaken to new levels of surveyed accuracy, institutionalised support for national mapping and charting in the work of the Ordnance Survey and of the Hydrographic Office of the Admiralty, and the common usage of standard scales and practices for mapping signalled the appearance of the 'modern' map.
From the later 1580s, Timothy Pont was engaged in mapping Scotland. The surviving manuscript maps and textual accounts of his endeavours provide one of the most detailed map records of any European country in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Pont's maps formed the basis of Joan Blaeu's maps of Scotland in his Atlas Novus, published in Amsterdam in 1654. These maps constituted the first atlas of Scotland.
One of the most detailed atlases of Scottish Town plans were drawn by John Wood between 1818 and 1825. They are ideal for anyone interested in local and family history as street and property owners are often named.
John Tallis included Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Perth in his Atlas of 1851; they are famous for their individual vignette views across Victorian Scotland.
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