Arrowsmith's monumental maps of the world and four continents
By ARROWSMITH, Aaron , 1804

[World and four Continents] Map of the World in a globular projection exhibiting Particularly the Nautical Researches of Cap[tai]n James Cook… [and] Map of America by A. Arrowsmith… [and] Africa To the Committee and Members of the British Association… [and] Asia To Major James Rennell… [and] Map of Europe drawn from all the best Surveys…

Sets of world and continents World
  • Author: ARROWSMITH, Aaron
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: A. Arrowsmith, No.10 Soho Square
  • Publication date: 4th September, 1804.
  • Physical description: Set of five engraved maps, the maps of the continents each on four sheets, the map of the world on six, all with fine original outline hand-colour.
  • Dimensions: (World) 1000 by 1865mm (39.25 by 73.5 inches); (America) 1220 by 1500mm (48 by 59 inches); (Africa) 1260 by 1460mm (49.5 by 57.5 inches); (Asia) 1260 by 1460mm (49.5 by 57.5 inches); (Europe) 1260 by 1460mm (49.5 by 57.5 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1203


A fine set of Arrowsmith’s wall maps of the world and the four continents.

The maps are typical of Arrowsmith’s work. All accumulated myth, misconception, and guesswork are stripped away making for a sparse and elegant style with decorative flourishes left for the borders. The maps also highlight Arrowsmith’s use of the most up-to-date information, from the inclusion of Earl Macartney’s voyage to China in 1793, and notes from Bruce’s ‘Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile…’ (1790), to the recording of all three of Captain Cook’s Voyages upon his map of the world.

Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1823) was the finest cartographer of his generation. Although he received little formal education it is believed that he was taught some mathematical instruction by William Emerson, an author of several books on the application of mathematics to the area of cartography. Around 1770, Arrowsmith moved to London to seek employment. It is believed that he worked for William Faden before joining John Cary Sr. in the early 1780s. There he provided the measurements for John Cary’s early publication detailing the roads from London to Falmouth, his first signed work. Arrowsmith set up on his own n 1790 and over the next thirty years produced some of the most beautiful and elegant maps of the era.

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