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ILAB Library - All You Need To Know About Rare Books and the Antiquarian Book Trade

  • [+] More Rare map makes final journey home - Blaeu map returns to National Library of Australia 

    Rare map makes final journey home - Blaeu map returns to National Library of Australia
    Published since 10 Nov 2017
    On November 11, 2017, the Archipelagus Orientalis  (Eastern Archipelago), created by master cartographer Joan Blaeu in 1663, was officially revealed at the National Library of Australia, after extensive restoration. 
    Found in a Swedish warehouse in 2010 where it reportedly spent most of its life stored away and forgotten, this map of New Holland—used as a template for all maps of Australia until Cook in 1770 — was returned to its permanent home at the National Library of Australia in Canberra.
  • [+] More Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - A 17-foot timeline 

    Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - A 17-foot timeline
    Published since 29 May 2015

    This large, folding chromolithograph (it’s over 6.5m long) is  Adams’ Illustrated Panorama of History  (London & Paris, A. H. Walker, 1878).  First  published in 1871 under the title Synchronological Chart by the Oregon pioneer minister Sebastian C. Adams, and in various later editions under different titles, this was, for a timeline chart, ‘nineteenth-century America’s surpassing achievement in complexity and synthetic power.  Adams, who lived all of his early life at the very edge of U.S. territory, was a schoolteacher and one of the founders of the first Bible college in Oregon.  Born in Ohio in 1825 and educated in the early 1840s at the brand-new Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, at the heart of the American abolitionist movement, Adams was a voracious reader, a broad thinker, and an inveterate improver.  The Synchronological Chart is a great work of outsider thinking and a template for autodidact study; it attempts to rise above the station of a mere historical summary and to draw a picture of history rich enough to serve as a textbook in itself.

  • [+] More Caring for Your Rare and Antiquarian Maps 

    Caring for Your Rare and Antiquarian Maps
    Published since 21 Jun 2013

    Rare book collectors often encounter maps, which present special challenges because they’ve usually been folded (and unfolded and refolded again) as part of their original use. They also make wonderful display pieces, so collectors may have to consider preservation and conservation for maps as hanging art.

  • [+] More Don't Wipe Your Nose With This Map 

    Don't Wipe Your Nose With This Map
    Published since 11 Mar 2013

    The Travelling Handkerchief  has come to town, Fairburn's Map of the Country Twelve Miles Round London by E. Bourne, printed on calico, 590 x 540 mm, in 1831, a scarce, early handkerchief map. The map is circular, and reaches Teddington in the south west, clockside to Norwood, Harrow on the Hill, Chipping Barnet, Dagenham, Purley and Kingsston, wherever they are. I'm in Los Angeles, clockside to Westwood, harrowing on Barrington, Pico and Sepulveda; what do I know? This cartographical Kleenex™ is decorated by vignette views of Chelsea and Greenwich Hospitals in the bottom corners, and a banner heralding the title is held aloft in an eagle's beak.

  • [+] More London : A History in Maps 

    London : A History in Maps
    Published since 06 Sep 2012

    Back in 2006, the British Library put on what was to become (at that time) its most successful exhibition ever – London: A Life in Maps.  It still exists in partial and virtual form on the British Library website.  “See London as you have never seen it before” was the tag-line – and so we did.  The history of our great city was explored and illuminated using the primary documents: the contemporary maps and views generated by the eye-witnesses.  Londoners flocked to it in their thousands. The one thing lacking was a permanent record of the entire exhibition and the compelling narrative (in detailed captions, interpretation and formal identification of the material) which accompanied it.  The London Topographical Society has now stepped in and published, in association with the British Library, the full record – London : A History in Maps – the complete narrative catalogue as originally compiled by Peter Barber, Head of the BL Map Library.  And not just the words, but with every item illustrated in whole or in part.

  • [+] More Rare Books in the Press: A Masterpiece of Maps Goes Digital At Cambridge 

    Rare Books in the Press: A Masterpiece of Maps Goes Digital At Cambridge
    Published since 27 Apr 2011

    "Anglophiles who are planning to watch the Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011, now have a new opportunity to gain insight into the history and geography of the kingdom over which the future monarch and his bride will reign. Cambridge University Library has digitized a set of proof sheets for the first comprehensive atlas of Great Britain, first published 400 years ago." Nancy Mattoon's recent article for Booktryst features one of the world’s finest cartographic treasures: John Speed’s Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine.

  • [+] More The French Connection 

    The French Connection
    Published since 28 May 2010

    Strange how myths are perpetuated. Like the one that claims Captain James Cook discovered Australia. Or the myth that the English are responsible for the mapping of Australia. If we delve into the history of Australian cartography, we find that it is the French, not the English, who made the greatest contribution to the early mapping of our continent. In fact, given King Louis XVI and Napoleon’s interest in the great southern continent, it is surprising that we are not a nation of French speaking citizens.

  • [+] More Primer for the beginning collector of maps 

    Primer for the beginning collector of maps
    Published since 30 Nov 2009

    Old maps are among the most fascinating and worthwhile of objects. They are history, art, and science rolled into one. Many old maps are written in languages other than English, but they are completely satisfying without translation.