Updating the classic pocket globe
By LANE, [Thomas after ADAMS, Dudley and FERGUSON, James] , 1830

Lane's Improved Globe, London.

  • Author: LANE, [Thomas after ADAMS, Dudley and FERGUSON, James]
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: [Thomas Lane
  • Publication date: after c1830].
  • Physical description: Globe, 12 copper-plate hand-coloured paper gores, over a papier mâché and plaster sphere, housed within shagreen over paste-board clamshell case with red painted rim, with hooks and eyes, lined with two sets of 12 finely engraved and hand-coloured celestial gores. A few areas of abrasion to the surface of the globe.
  • Dimensions: Diameter: 70mm (2.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 15666


The present globe is the work of Thomas Lane (fl1801-1829), son of Nicholas Lane, whose business was particularly associated with pocket globes. When Dudley Adams went bankrupt in 1817, the copper plates appear to have come into the hands of the Lane firm. Adams had in turn purchased these plates from James Ferguson.

Lane updated the old cartouche to include his name. However, the name of the engraver, J. Mynde, was kept just below the cartouche. Later on, Lane would erase Mynde’s name from the plates.

There have been several additions to this “improved” globe: compass points to the west of Cape Horn, monsoons in the Indian Ocean and the Great Wall of China. Both the Antarctic and Arctic Ocean are marked “Frozen Ocean”, since the globe was issued just before news reached Britain of the sighting of “Enderby’s Land” (part of Antarctica) by the explorer John Briscoe.

The tracks of Captain James Cook’s voyages are shown and the coastline of Australia drawn according to his reports. The most notable addition is the marking on the west coast of Australia of the “Swan R. Settlement”.

The Swan River Colony was the brainchild of Captain James Stirling who in 1827, aboard HMS Success, had explored the Swan River. On his return to London he petitioned Parliament to grant land for a settlement along the river. A consortium was set up by the MP Potter McQueen, but was disbanded after the Colonial Office refused to give them preference over independent settlers. One of the members of the consortium, Thomas Peel, did, however, accept the terms set down by Colonial Office. In late 1829, Peel arrived with 300 settlers and was granted 250,000 acres. The first reports of the new colony arrived back in England in late January 1830. They described the poor conditions and the land as being totally unfit for agriculture. They went on to say that the settlers were in a state of “near starvation” and (incorrectly) said that the colony had been abandoned. As a result of these reports, many people cancelled their migration plans or diverted to Cape Town or New South Wales.

The celestial gores are taken from the Adams-Ferguson plates, but Lane has added hour angles along the equator in the southern hemisphere and a zodiacal belt along the ecliptic.


  1. Dekker, fig. 9.103, see GLB0012 for a version after 1833
  2. Worms and Baynton- Williams, p.387.