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Lie of the Land
Spinning the World
exhibition tour 10/16
The First Jigsaw Ever Sold*

Jigsaw Map

The maps were designed as aids for teaching geography.As pupils put the pieces together they learnt where the different countries were. They were able to 'spin the world' in a very particular way.

John Spilsbury certainly spotted a business opportunity. In the space of two years he marketed the eight map subjects most likely to appeal to upper class English parents: the world, the four continents then known(Africa, America, Asia and Europe), England and Wales, Ireland and Scotland. The map in the picture is of Europe and bears the earliest date, 1766. The oak box for the map bears the inscription 'A gift of Lady Cecilia Johnston, May 27, 1792'. The daughter of the first Earl Delaware, Lady Cecilia( 1727-1817) was relentlessly pilloried by Thomas Gillray, for 'gambling and other fashionable actiivities'.

This map is a rare survivor - only one other Spilsbury map is known in a British public collection. This is another example of 'Europe' in the York Castle Museum