Frederick William Rose

(1849 - 1915)

Frederick William Rose is the most famous of the satirical mapmakers active in the late nineteenth century, but long an elusive figure, signing himself “Fred. W. Rose”, an unfortunately common name for the period. It is only recently that his biography has been established. He was born in London, the son of a Scot, Hugh Munro St. Vincent Rose of Glastullich and Tarlogie.

He was gainfully employed in the Civil Service, in the Inland Revenue; he enjoyed travelling, and published accounts of his travels, and was also an amateur artist, specializing in caricature or satirical maps – “serio-comic maps” as he termed then – for which he is now best remembered.

His most famous are two from 1877, his Serio-Comic War Map for the Year 1877 and the Revised Edition Serio-Comic War Map for the Year 1877, the first signed with initials, the second signed as F.W. Rose. A companion from 1877, The Avenger an Allegorical War Map for 1877 was issued anonymously by the same publisher and has divided opinion as to its authorship.

At the time of the Boer War, Rose issued two more satirical maps, Angling in Troubled Waters and John Bull and his Friends both making light of the developing confrontation in Europe between Germany and her neighbours which led to the First World War, in which Rose’s two youngest sons were quickly killed, probably leading to his demise in early 1915.