Arrowsmith’s large and detailed map of Scotland

By ARROWSMITH, Aaron, 1807 

Map of Scotland Constructed from Original Materials obtained under the Authority of the Parliament Commissioners for making Roads and building Bridges in the Highlands of Scotland; with whose permission it is now published by their much obliged and obedient Servant A. Arrowsmith.

British Isles Scotland
  • Author: ARROWSMITH, Aaron
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Published by A. Arrowsmith No.10 Soho Square
  • Publication date: 1807.
  • Physical description: Large engraved wall map, fine original full wash colour, dissected and mounted on linen, housed in original green marbled paper slipcase, rubbed.
  • Dimensions: 1880 by 1440mm. (74 by 56.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 2568

Notes

Aaron Arrowsmith’s map of Scotland was first published in June 1807. Drawn upon a scale of 4 inches to the statute mile, it would become the standard outline of Scotland for the next 50 years. The Memoir accompanying the map lists the range of sources consulted, over 100 maps in all, including the unpublished Military Survey map by Captain Roy of 1754, the latest estate and county maps, and marine charts. Although at the same scale as the eighteenth century maps by John Dorret and John Ainslie, the map includes more place names than any earlier map of Scotland. As well as being reissued by Arrowsmith’s sons, the map was used as a base-map or source document by many other mapmakers.

Aaron Arrowsmith (1750–1823),​“easily the foremost cartographer of his time” (R.V. Tooley), was the founder of the Arrowsmith dynasty of cartographers. Born in County Durham, he was in London by 1777 when he witnessed the will of Andrew Dury, a mapseller and publisher, and was probably training with him; he may have trained with William Faden, Geographer to the King, but was certainly employed by John Cary in 1782, as he is credited with the survey work for​‘Cary’s Actual Survey, of the Great Post Roads between London and Falmouth’, published in 1784; he is frequently credited with some of the survey work for Cary’s county atlas,​‘Cary’s New and Correct English Atlas: being a set of county maps from actual surveys’ (1787), but the sources are silent on this and by this time Arrowsmith had established his own business.

Arrowmsith’s maps set a new standard; he was assiduous in analysing and verifying his sources, discarding not only the fictional but also the uncertain, going to printed and manuscript sources for his information, and engraved in a clear and highly legible style. Arrowsmith was also diligent in revising and improving his maps to keep them current, and served as an inspiration for the next generation of (particularly American) surveyors. 
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