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2010 articles 2010 articles

Fortunate Survivors: Maps and Map Fragments in the Bagford Collection

Tom Harper (notes)

Abstract

The printing samples collected together by John Bagford have been part of the British Library, formally British Museum, collections since 1753, and yet the few maps amongst them have so far not been studied. The present article will explore the reasons for this through the example of one particular volume of maps and fragments known as Harl.5935. It will chart the volume’s journey through various Museum departments during the nineteenth century, accounting for the treatment it has received during these years, and allowing for reflection on particular attitudes to cartographic material. The article will then turn to the maps themselves, drawing comparisons between them, establishing where they came from, and seeking to understand why Bagford might have thought them interesting. It will focus in particular on the fragments of three maps published in Antwerp in the sixteenth century which are revealed to be of special significance to the history of cartography. Establishing the importance of these maps will lead to a further rehabilitation of Bagford’s reputation as a collector of prints.

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