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.
The shoot was done for a feature about the book in the current issue of the National Trust Magazine.
It is shown here in one of the two libraries at Belton.
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.
I am not sure why the sheperdess is showing off quite so much – perhaps she symbolises the allure of the open road.