Every spring IMCoS holds a Collectors’ Evening in London for all and any member who can attend. It is a very informal evening designed so that everyone can share their interest, discoveries and knowledge with fellow enthusiasts. The popular members’ evening is usually held at The Farmers Club, 3 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2E1 and members are encouraged to bring along maps to show to others and sometimes get help with identification.
The next Collectors' Evening will be held on Tuesday, March 5 starting promptly at 7pm at the Farmers' Club, 3 Whitehall Court, London SW1Q 2E1. All members are welcome to bring along maps and charts for identification or discussion. Francis Herbert will be in the chair. If you would like to meet for a drink beforehand, please join us in the bar of the Farmer’s Club at 6 p.m. (please note; smart casual dress, no T-shirts or jeans!). Tea and coffee and sandwiches will be provided from 6.30 in the Committee Room on the ground floor where the meeting takes place. A modest charge will be made for the meeting to pay for hire of the room and refreshments.
The Chairman’s theme will be large-scale plans of battles and/or small-scale maps noting sites (initially with dates) of such. There will be a wide option range of Revolutionary/Napoleonic Wars (chiefly in Europe and the West Indies) and the War of 1812-1813 in Canada and the USA. Possible locations of battles and sieges at Lutzen (Gross-Gorchen), Bautzen, San Sebastian, Vitoria, Pamplona, Gross Beeren, Dresden, Katzbach, Culm, San Marcial, Dennewitz, Leipzig, Hanau, Nivelle, and Bayonne, Buffalo, York (Toronto), Fort St George, Detroit, Thames River (near Chatham, Ontario), Chrysler's Farm (Montreal), Newark, New Jersey, and Fort Niagara.
If battle plans do not turn you on, then do bring any other maps or charts by way of contrast to our military theme. Let's have a good turnout and make this an exciting event.
The last Collectors’ Evening was be held on Tuesday 13th March with the inimitable Francis Herbert in the chair.
Mercator at the Collectors’ Evening
Report by Valerie Newby and Francis Herbert [abridged from IMCoS Journal 129 by the website editor]
25 members of IMCoS gathered for this year’s Collectors’ Evening chaired for the sixth time by Francis Herbert, retired Curator of Maps at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). The previously-suggested theme was Mercator, to honour the 500th anniversary of his birth this year. We did not see many maps of, copied from, or influenced by, Gerardus Mercator sr, many of which of course are now rare and too valuable to carry about; but members had tried to follow the theme in some way. Ray Eddy held up a portrait of Mercator from the Atlas Minor which was a very good copy in excellent condition. Walter Valk showed us two large (folio) maps: one, by Mercator, of the British Isles: the second was ‘A New Chart of the Sea Coasts of France together with the English Channel’ printed and sold by Christopher Browne; with scales given in French leagues and English miles. To some of those present, the intriguing thing about this particular copy was that it was dated June 1803 (following the re-declaration of war on 18th May 1803 between Britain and France after the short-lived Peace of Amiens signed on 27th March 1802), and had one of the several variant pasted-on trade labels of C[harles]. Picquet of Paris.
Ray Eddy and portrait of Mercator
Caroline Batchelor introduced the subject of the Olympics which are, of course, being held mostly in London this year, with a map of ‘London and Vicinity’ of 1902 from the Encyclopaedia Britannica. It showed the site of the first Olympics held in Great Britain at the White City (West London) in 1908. Caroline, and her husband Peter, also brought a miniature map by Pieter van den Keere of The Philippines which was taken off an earlier plate by Mercator of 1598.
Clare Terrell displayed an unusual book entitled Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty islands I have never set foot on and never will which had been written by an East German who was unable to travel but wrote about islands she would never be able to visit. The author’s name is Judith Schalansky and the English edition has been published recently. The author describes islands in the Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Antarctic Oceans including Tristan da Cunha and St Kilda and each is given its exact position and the year of its discovery.
Ian and Jenny Harvey brought along a folding map by William Belch of London, with slip-case, entitled ‘New Map of London’ and dated 1st July 1820 which they thought must be quite rare. At a scale of 3 inches to 1 statute mile (or c.1:21 000), this was engraved and handcoloured, dissected and mounted on linen. They had identified it as item No.256 in James Howgego’s Printed maps of London circa 1553-1850, 2nd ed. (1978).
Valerie Newby held up an unusual coloured map showing the anomalous closing hours of the Public Houses (‘pubs’) in and around Greater London in 1939. This had been printed by G.W. Bacon and issued by the Central Board of the Licensed Victuallers’ Central Protection Society of London and was printed in Russell Square, London WC1. No alcohol could be sold after 11pm in the yellow areas and after 10pm in the brown areas. No time for binge drinking in those days!
The IMCoS treasurer, Jeremy Edwards, produced what he described as “a joke”. It was a Speed map of Scotland for which he paid 15 pence during the Edinburgh Festival and it turned out to be a sheet of wrapping paper!
Our Society’s chairman, Hans Kok, produced two maps by the Blaeu family. The first showed the Siege of Breda in The Netherlands. His second map, showing the ‘Fossa Sanctae Mariae’, illustrated how, by flooding the countryside, the Dutch hoped to hold back any invaders. However, the project was never completed although it is still possible to see where some of the dykes were cut in preparation.
Rodney Shirley brought along the thematic map that was featured in the IMCoS Journal, Summer 2008, 113, p.60). Tooley’s Dictionary gives a date of 1854 and 1855 but this map of 1861 may be a later issue. [No copies were traced in the British Library in their 1967 printed ‘World’ catalogue nor in their 1998 CDROM.].
Kitty Liebrich contributed with two miniature maps ‘by a friend of Mercator’s’, one of ‘India Orient[alis]’ by Petrus Kaerius (Pieter van den Keere) and the other of Eastern Asia, a miniature Speed. David Webb, the Society’s photographer, had brought what was probably the most unusual item: a teapot featuring a map of the world. David had made it himself at a pottery class in 1996. In order to depict the world he had to make the teapot quite big, weighing about 6lb (or 3 kg).
The Map Evening was brought to a close by chairman, Francis Herbert. He displayed a foursheet map of Africa originally engraved on copper plates by Daniel Lizars Snr for his folio A New and Elegant General Atlas of the World issued in parts during 1809- 12. Original paper wrappers for part works rarely survive as, once a work is complete, the owner has the part installments bound; the papers wrappers were often thrown away rather than bound-in at the end of the complete volume.