Arrowsmith's large and detailed map of Scotland
By ARROWSMITH, Aaron , 1860

Map of Scotland Constructed from Original Materials obtained under the Authority of The Parliamentary Commissioners For making Roads and building Bridges In the Highlands of Scotland; With whose permission it is now published By Their much obliged and obedient Servant. A. Arrowsmith.

British Isles Scotland
  • Author: ARROWSMITH, Aaron
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Published By G. F. Cruchley Mapseller & Publisher, Fleet Street
  • Publication date: March 23rd, 1858. Additions to 1860.
  • Physical description: Large engraved map, original hand-colour in outline, dissected and mounted on linen, inset maps of North Barra and North Rona, and St. Kilda, key to railway lines completed, in progress, and projected, geological key upper left.
  • Dimensions: 1830 by 1500mm. (72 by 59 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1430


Arrowsmith’s large and detailed map of Scotland with geological information.

Aaron Arrowsmith’s map of Scotland was first published in June 1807, and became for the next 50 years the standard outline of Scotland. By the time the present edition was published, in 1860, the map had undergone several changes, the most striking of which was the addition of geological detail in 1836. The geological information together with a key and cross-section was the work of John Macculloch (1773-1835) who between the years 1814-1831 spent each summer surveying central and southern Scotland. The excessive workload, combined with Parliament questioning the survey’s great cost of a £1000 per year, led to Macculloch suffering a stroke in 1831. However, he would recover sufficiently to produce the final report and map. The completed work would be published posthumously by Samuel Arrowsmith in 1836.

The map would be re-issued later by Arrowsmith’s apprentice, George Frederick Cruchley, who in 1839 brought much of the Arrowsmith’s stock.

Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1823), ​”easily the foremost cartographer of his time” (R.V. Tooley), was the founder of the Arrowsmith dynasty of cartographers. Born in County Durham, he was in London by 1777 when he witnessed the will of Andrew Dury, a mapseller and publisher, and was probably training with him; he may have trained with William Faden, Geographer to the King, but was certainly employed by John Cary in 1782, as he is credited with the survey work for ​’Cary’s Actual Survey, of the Great Post Roads between London and Falmouth’, published in 1784; he is frequently credited with some of the survey work for Cary’s county atlas, ​’Cary’s New and Correct English Atlas: being a set of county maps from actual surveys’ (1787), but the sources are silent on this and by this time Arrowsmith had established his own business.

Arrowmsith’s maps set a new standard; he was assiduous in analysing and verifying his sources, discarding not only the fictional but also the uncertain, going to printed and manuscript sources for his information, and engraved in a clear and highly legible style. Arrowsmith was also diligent in revising and improving his maps to keep them current, and served as an inspiration for the next generation of (particularly American) surveyors.