The Island of Ceylon 1860
Published in Glasgow and Edinburgh by Blackie & Son.
Engraved by Edward Weller.
Map Size: 337 x 252
Taken from the very scarce Imperial Atlas of Modern Geography by W.G. Blackie, this impressive map was finely engraved on a copper plate and was carefully hand-coloured at the time of publication.
Edward Weller (1819 – 1884) was a cartographer and engraver based in London. Weller was a nephew of another well-known map publisher Sidney Hall.
He engraved for many prominent mapmakers and was active enough in the community to be recommended for membership to the Royal Geographical Society in 1851 on the recommendation of John Arrowsmith, among others. He eventually inherited the Sidney Hall map business which led him to follow Arrowsmith as the unofficial geographer to the Royal Geographical Society. Weller was among the first map printers in London to embrace lithography. Having established his credentials as an engraver of finely detailed works, he sold maps to be published in a number of regular magazines and pamphlets, perhaps the best known being ‘The Dispatch Atlas’; a compilation of maps Weller had already published in ‘The Weekly Dispatch’. Although Weller usually engraved the maps himself, he did work in partnership with others, particularly John Dower for this 1858 and 1863 volume. Weller also published ‘The Crown Atlas’ in 1871.
The Dispatch Atlas featured well over one hundred superbly detailed steel plate engraved maps, usually with simplistic, single colour outline hand colouring, and a distinctive header style. Most English counties featured, some of which were divided onto separate sheets, affording space to engrave in even greater detail.
Map of Ceylon 1722
Guillaume De L’Isle (1675-1726)
Guillaume De L’Isle was born in 1675 in Paris and by the turn of the century was the most prominent map-maker of the time. Having been taught geography by his father Claude, himself a geographer and historian, Guillaume is reputed to have drawn his first map at the age of nine and was viewed as a child prodigy.
His training in mathematics and astronomy led to a more scientific approach to map-making with a reliance on verifiable information in contrast to the earlier Dutch map-makers with their emphasis on aesthetic values. This rigorous scientific approach brought recognition and in 1702, two years after the publication of his first atlas, he was elected member of the Académie Royale des Sciences and in 1718 he achieved his greatest honour when he was appointed ‘Premier Géographe du Roi’.
When he died in 1726 his business was carried on by his nephew Philippe Buache (1700-1773) whose maps and atlases were more concerned with physical geography and was one of the first cartographers to attempt to map the undersea world.