Five rare and awe-inspiring mountain and river maps

Five rare and awe-inspiring mountain and river maps

When it comes to design – the Victorians did it better. Nothing quite matches these 19th Century comparative river and mountain maps for exquisite hand-drawn detail, meticulous scale and luminous beauty. It makes me wonder, how can anyone not love old maps?

Up close - (1836) Andriveau Goujon Comparative Mountains and Rivers Chart. Wikipedia
Up close – (1836) Andriveau Goujon Comparative Mountains and Rivers Chart. Wikipedia

A New Cartographic Convention

One of the forerunners for this kind of map is a comparative map of mountains by Thomson in 1817.

(1817) A comparative map of mountains by Thomson in 1817.
(1817) A comparative map of mountains by Thomson in 1817.

This was closely followed by William Home Lizar’s ‘A Comparative view of the principle rivers of Scotland’in 1822, one of the first comparative river charts of its kind. Click to see the larger image

(1822) William_Home_Lizar's A Comparative view of the principle rivers of Scotland 
(1822) William_Home_Lizar’s A Comparative view of the principle rivers of Scotland

 

Moving Mountains and Rivers

Darton & Gardner’s 1823 Mountains and Rivers chart brings together two in spectacular fashion. Another notable addition is William Darton’s 1823 “New and Improved View of the Comparative Heights of the Principal Mountains and Lengths of the Principal Rivers In The World”. Click to see the larger image

(1823)Darton and Gardner. New and Improved View of the Comparative Heights, of the Principal Mountains and Lengths of the Principal Rivers in the World.
(1823)Darton and Gardner. New and Improved View of the Comparative Heights, of the Principal Mountains and Lengths of the Principal Rivers in the World.

 

Pièce de Résistance

The grandest comparative map of them all has to be the Andriveau & Goujon Comparative Mountains and Rivers Chart. This is where comparative mapping reaches its zenith. On one gigantic sheet, Andriveau & Goujon not only compare and contrast the heights of mountains and the lengths of rivers, but also add a table of waterfalls, show volcanic activity, levels of plant growth and tree lines, and add select cities and European buildings. They even incorporates the achievements of the balloonist Gay-Lussac who ascended to 7000 meters in 1804. Click to see the larger image

(1836) Andriveau Goujon Comparative Mountains and Rivers Chart. Includes reconstructed waterfalls section, added scientific and geographical knowledge, more important cities notated, extensive textual annotations, a section indicating undersea and subterranean regions.
(1836) Andriveau Goujon Comparative Mountains and Rivers Chart. Wikipedia

Nowadays you can find these works of art used as iPhone and iPad covers. 

 

Advertisements

11 Comments

  1. I’ve always been fascinated by rivers, especially the world’s longest rivers. I love tracing them from their source (usually mountain ranges) to the sea

    1. Me too and it’s such a nostalgic format with the drawing rendered in this way, they don’t make them like this anymore. I love tracing them from their source on maps too, they look so beautiful and bring to mind the way rain travels down a window 🙂

    1. HI Neha thanks for popping by I am so glad you liked them, me too. I found them on a tumblr map blog and there was no explanatory information so I had to go hunting for this, so fascinating the layout, almost surreal art in some ways 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s