The World at Their Fingertips

Eighteenth-Century British Two-Sheet Double-Hemisphere World Maps

Geoff Armitage and Ashley Baynton-Williams

The World at Their Fingertips

Geoff Armitage and Ashley Baynton-Williams

Distributed for British Library

262 pages | 155 color plates | 12 x 9 1/2 | © 2012
Cloth $65.00 ISBN: 9780712358774 Published August 2012 For sale in North and South America only

Between 1680 and 1807 several British publishers produced a sequence of double-hemisphere world maps, each printed on two conjoined sheets. The publishers of these world maps were the leading figures of the map trade at that time and had identified a ready market for maps of this type, which were aimed at a newly prosperous and upwardly aspiring class of purchasers.
A peculiarly British phenomenon of this period, two-sheet double-hemisphere maps are important in the history of cartography for exemplifying how the map trade used the popular ideas of the Enlightenment to target an emerging market. The buyers were hungry for geographical information, but they were also eager to acquire status symbols to display as a statement of their intellectual pursuits. The scientific appearance of the maps was thus more important than geographical accuracy, which few of them achieved. This study is the first of its kind and will be essential in understanding the eighteenth-century British map trade as well as the economics of mapmaking and the emergence of new marketing techniques.


1. The beginnings—Alexis-Hubert Jaillot
2. British mapmaking 1650–1820
3. High points in world mapping of the eighteenth century
4. Low points in world mapping of the eighteenth century
5. Related topics
6. The British double-hemisphere maps
7. Chronological listing and description of British two-sheet double-hemisphere world maps 1680–1807
8. Conclusion

Appendix I: Contemporary quotations on making maps
Appendix II: Transcripts of contemporary announcements
Appendix III: Addresses
Further reading
Review Quotes
Ian Muehlenhaus, James Madison University | Cartographic Perspectives
"An incredibly detailed, as holistic as possible, index and analysis of British double-hemispheric maps. There can be no critique of how well it fulfills its goals. . . . A substantial contribution when it comes to cataloging the history of cartography."
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