Jigsaw puzzle map of Europe


This map is a jigsaw puzzle, designed by John Spilsbury, formerly the apprentice to the Royal Geographer. Spilsbury is believed to have been the first commercial manufacturer of jigsaws. He managed to start quite a trend. For a good 20 years during the mid 1700s, all manufactured jigsaws were in the form of dissected maps like this one.

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. 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. This map is a rare survivor – only one other Spilsbury map is known to exist in a British public collection.

Full title:
Europe divided into its kingdoms &c. by J.Spilsbury.
1766, London
John Spilsbury
Ephemera / Image / Map
John Spilsbury
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Maps 188.v.12

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