Wallis’ game map of Europe

By WALLIS, John, 1794 

Wallis’ Tour of Europe. A new Geographical Pastime.

Europe Continent of Europe
  • Author: WALLIS, John
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: John Wallis, 16 Ludgate Street
  • Publication date: 1794.
  • Physical description: Engraved map with original hand colour, dissected and mounted on linen.
  • Dimensions: 695 by 490mm. (27.25 by 19.25 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 14484


This geographical game map from 1794 recreates the contemporary tradition of the Grand Tour’, where wealthy young men were sent around Europe to acquire culture and experience of different countries.

It is suitable for two to three players but up to six can play if a double set of counters and pyramids are purchased”. Each player takes a pyramid and four counters, which are meant to represent the tourist and their servants. They start at Harwich (No. 1), then spins a totem to see how many cities they can advance. Each subsequent roll is added to the total, so the last city (London) must be landed on with an exact roll to win the game. If for various reasons they miss a turn, they leave a counter (or servant) at the city, and have to retrieve them before they can advance.

The game rules and a numbered list of places are in the margins, with a fact about each city named.

John Wallis (1745?-1818) was a British map and book maker, seller and publisher. After his first business Wallis & Stonehouse went bankrupt in 1778, he became well-known for producing games and puzzles for children. His business was based at 16 Ludgate Street, where the game map was published, from 1778–1805. From 1813 he worked in collaboration with his son Edward Wallis (1787?-1868), who continued the business after his death in 1818.