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The first jigsaw map of Asia

Title
Asia in its Principal Divisions, By J. Spilsbury, 1767.
Author
SPILSBURY, J.
Publisher
Spilsbury, Engraver, Map and Print Seller in Russell Court, Covent Garden,
Publication place
London,
Publication date
1767.
Dimensions
430 by 470mm (17 by 18.5 inches).
Price
£6,000
Reference
13063

Description

Engraved map, fine original hand-colour, pasted onto wood and dissected along country boundaries, Sumatra and Dzungaria pieces in facsimile, two pieces chipped and one split, a couple very slightly warped, lightly dust-soiled and marked, contained in near contemporary wooden box with sliding lid.

Notes

John Spilsbury (1739-1769) is credited with inventing the jigsaw puzzle, when in 1766 he affixed a world map to wood and carved each country out. He would go on to create over the next two years, puzzles of the four continents (Asia as hear) together with puzzles of England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. The maps were designed as teaching aids for geography classes. As pupils put the pieces together, they would learn how different countries connected to one another.

Rare we are only able to trace one institutional example: the British Library, lacking the Borneo piece.

Bibliography

BLMC Maps 188.v.13