Ogilby redux

©NTPL/Layton Thomas

I thought I would share a few images of the copy of John Ogilby’s 1675 Britannia – the first ever road atlas for England and Wales – that was recently purchased for Belton House, and which has now been properly photographed.

©NTPL/Layton Thomas

The shoot was done for a feature about the book in the current issue of the National Trust Magazine.

©NTPL/Layton Thomas

It is shown here in one of the two libraries at Belton.

©NTPL/Layton Thomas

As I said before, the layout of the atlas is a bit like a modern satnav. Presumably travellers would have copied out the relevant sections on a piece of paper rather than carrying the entire volume in their saddlebag. And perhaps it was a bit like glossy cookbooks today: more acquired and displayed than actually used.

©NTPL/Layton Thomas

I am not sure why the sheperdess is showing off quite so much – perhaps she symbolises the allure of the open road.

©NTPL/Layton Thomas

Courtney Barnes of Style Court recently linked to an excellent feature on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website where curator Melanie Holcomb talks about the her fascination for maps.

8 Responses to “Ogilby redux”

  1. Toby Worthington Says:

    The decolletage of the shepherdess and the lure of the open road~
    thanks for that one, Emile.

  2. The Devoted Classicist Says:

    How wonderful! (The book as well as the room).

  3. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Toby, maps are never just about maps, are they 🙂

    John, the room was designed by James Wyatt in 1778 and made into a library in 1876. Another image can be seen in the previous post about the Ogilby (https://nttreasurehunt.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/seventeenth-century-satnav/). I like your elegant blog, by the way.

  4. Janet Says:

    It is wonderful to see some additional photographs of this amazing object! Thank you. And Happy New Year!

  5. ldm Says:

    Small typo – National Trust Magazine, not Nagazine.

  6. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Thanks for letting me know – now corrected.

  7. home before dark Says:

    I think the bare breasted shepherdess is a reference to the fertility of the agrarian ideal. Bad place to get a sunburn.

  8. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Yes that would also explain the highly impractical fruit she is clutching and that lies piled in the brim of her hat.

    Figures of shepherds and shepherdesses were often associated with myth and allegory, hence the statues of them often seen in C18 gardens. I suppose this particular shepherdess is adding a bit of sexy allegorical cachet to the (in itself purely practical) road atlas.

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