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


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 The Memoir accompanying the map lists the range of sources consulted, over 100 maps in all, including the unpublished Military Survey map by Captain Roy of 1754, the latest estate and county maps, and marine charts.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) was the finest cartographer of his generation. Although he received little formal education it is believed that he was taught some mathematical instruction by William Emerson, an author of several books on the application of mathematics to the area of cartography. Around 1770, Arrowsmith moved to London to seek employment. It is believed that he worked for William Faden before joining John Cary Sr. in the early 1780s. There he provided the measurements for John Cary’s early publication detailing the roads from London to Falmouth, his first signed work. Arrowsmith set up on his own in 1790 and over the next thirty years produced some of the most beautiful and elegant maps of the era.