09 July 2016

The Art Of Illustrated Maps

The Art Of Illustrated Maps
The Art Of Illustrated Maps: A Complete Guide To Creative Mapmaking's History, Process & Inspiration is "the first book ever to fully explore the world of conceptual, "imaginative" mapping." (Map, by Rosie Pickles and Tim Cooke, also includes examples of illustrated maps.) These creative maps are distinct from the scientific field of cartography: "a line was beginning to form between accurate maps and artistic maps."

The book is concerned with the second of these two branches: "Like geographic maps, the creation of illustrated maps also has a long history, spanning nearly two thousand years, and this subject matter also lacks significant published historical or analytical review. The Art of Illustrated Maps charts previously unexplored ground as it traces the birth and evolution of the highly specialized order of cartographic art known as illustrated maps."

Author John Roman quotes Ptolemy's definition of 'chorography' in his Geographia: "The chorographic map artist's concern is to draw or paint a "likeness" of the place, and not to concern himself with exact positions or sizes." He appropriates Ptolemy's term to refer to all forms of illustrated, artistic map-making, and charts its history alongside a portfolio of contemporary examples.

As Roman explains, "absolutely no books at all existed on the subject of maps until Lloyd Brown's The Story of Maps was published". Brown's book was indeed the first guide to cartographic history, and covers Ptolemy, the Middle Ages, and Renaissance map-making in more detail than Roman's brief account.

Leo Bagrow's History Of Cartography is the most comprehensive single-volume history of the subject, and Roman cites Bagrow's observation that, during the eighteenth century, cartographic maps "ceased to be works of art." Maps (like anatomical studies of the same period) became more technical and less artistic as scientific accuracy improved, though a parallel trend saw an increase in the creativity of illustrated maps. Roman's coverage of this development in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is his most interesting and original material.