edited by Josephine French, with Valerie Scott and Mary Alice Lowenthal consulting editors
Map Collector Publications in association with Richard Arkway Inc, Tring Hertfordshire, 1999
Reviewed by The Editor
|Much-heralded, and long-awaited, 'Tooley's Dictionary' is back in print,
or at least letters A to D. The original dictionary was published
in parts in 'The Map Collectors Circle Series, before being brought together
in a single volume in 1978, containing some 21,450 entries. 'Tooley's Dictionary'
was - as the late Helen Wallis noted in the Preface - "the first comprehensive
work of this kind in English". A second volume, with some four thousand
additional names was published in 1985.
While reviews were mixed, love it or hate it, 'Tooley's Dictionary' became an essential part of the cartographic literature. In the days before computers, the volume was a tremendous achievement for Tooley. The original edition was very much the product of one man's work, and very much a reflection of his personal experiences in a time before so many of the great reference books so familiar today.
The personal element - 'Tooley's Dictionary' was more like an aide-memoir for its author - makes it very difficult to establish the source of a snippet of information, and assess its reliability. Having personally attempted to follow up entries in the 'Dictionary', I have first-hand experience of the problem. How much more difficult then to check every detail of 25,000 entries.
Following seven years work, and thousands of hours of research, Part 1 is completed. My first impression - blessed with the glorious clarity afforded by hindsight - is that it might have been better for the Editors simply to start from scratch, and omit any and all Tooley information that could not be verified. While one might never know what would have been lost, I think the benefit of constructing a properly verified and cross-referenced foundation would have been of inestimable benefit. However, as the Introduction makes quite clear, the Editors never expected that the project would take so long, or that so much remedial work would be required. Equally, I am sure that such a prospect would have been simply too daunting to consider.
I also think it unfortunate that the revision has been approached in an alphabetical manner. As a sample, I looked up the individuals involved in the preparation of the 1477 Bologna Ptolemy, starting with Taddeo Crivelli, the probable engraver of the maps. There are no cross-references from him to any of the other editors and publishers involved in the project. The maps were edited by Girolamo Manfredi and Pietro Bono. Bono is not listed in the revised edition, while Manfredi is listed in the original edition (as Manfredus, Hieronymus), with the cross-reference to 'Bonus'. What happens when the Editors reach Manfredi? Where does Bono's name get recorded? Oh, to be in an ideal world!
These are minor criticisms, for the revised edition actually represents a remarkable achievement. With proper editorial supervision, the whole volume has been transformed into a more usable and reliable tool. This has been achieved in part by greatly clarifying the information, expanding Tooley's abbreviations, placing more emphasis on establishing date ranges, bringing family members together, and so on. In addition, an enormous number of new entries have been inserted. The section A-D in the original comprised 184 pages; the revised edition runs to 403 pages.
There are still a number of errors, mis-attributions and misidentifications (and omissions, obviously). In a work of this kind, and scope, all these are inevitable. It would be churlish to itemise them, but I've started to send corrections to the Editors, and I hope all users will follow suit.
It is all the more praiseworthy that the work has been done without having a recognised 'map-scholar' at the helm. Without the experience of actually handling the items themselves, and without familiarity with the individual maps, their parent atlases and so on, it must have been very difficult to work through Tooley's paper trail. One consequence, however, is there has been an evident move away from the maps and atlases - the primary evidence, after all - to reliance on secondary sources, with all the attendant risk of errors and omissions.
There are few books that justify the term "indispensable reference tool", but the revised edition of 'Tooley's Dictionary' is certainly destined to be one of them - an invaluable first point of access for biographical research for librarians, researchers, dealers and collectors alike. It merits inclusion in every cartographic reference library. It is to be hoped that the subsequent volumes will appear in short-order to complete this mammoth, and so-far, highly-commendable undertaking.
By Andrew Bonar Law.
Dublin: The Neptune Gallery, 1997.
ISBN 0 9532241 0 4
Pp. 334, illustrated. IR £70 (cloth).
The Neptune Gallery
By Robert Borri.
Ivrea, Italy: Priuli & Verlacci, Editori, 1999. ISBN: 88-8068-134-6
191pp, over 250 illustrations, a large proportion in colour, with illus. slipcase.
(Available from Altea Antique Maps & Books, £ 80 plus p&p).
|This large volume is a chronological listing of the printed maps of
the Italian peninsula, from the first map of that country, published in
1477, to 1799. In total 296 maps are listed (numbered 1 to 250 maps,
plus 46 others sub-divided as A/B/C/D, representing either variant issues
or anonymous copies).
The book commences with a brief summary of prototype manuscript maps of Italy that influenced the first printed maps, and then shows the principal prototype printed maps, with diagrams highlighting the various outlines and orientations adopted, and with the description of individual maps referring back to the prototypes.
The text is in Italian; there are no summaries in other languages. However, as the descriptions accompanying the maps are relatively brief, this only represents a problem to non-Italian readers in the preliminary chapters
Each map is described under a series of headings: date (with cartographer, engraver, printer and publisher, where known) 'Caratterische' (medium, size, atlas, title, imprint), 'Ristampe' (cross-referenced to later printings), 'Osservazioni', 'Rarità', 'Bibliographia', and location of the example described.
In many cases the description are very brief. There is no attempt here to provide a full carto-bibliographic description of each map, its states, the atlases and their editions. As an example, John Speed's map of Italy (carta 93; 1626) is described and then three "subsequent" editions of the atlas (1627 - actually the First Edition - 1632, and 1676), noted, without detailed account of changes to the plate. Richard Blome's map (carta 121; 1669) is described without noting the atlas it came from ('A Geographical Description Of The Four Parts Of The World' , London, 1670), or its later states.
One reason the descriptions are brief is that each map listed is illustrated, often in colour. The large format (the page size is 30 by 33cm) gives the opportunity to display pictures at large size. Taken as a group, this is a very impressive set of plates, which more than compensate for some of the weaknesses of the text, forming an almost unparalleled pictorial reference for a single country. One slight gripe is that several small maps are reproduced larger than the original (with no benefit of extra clarity in the enlargement), with several very important maps are illustrated very much reduced, with great loss of legibility. Many of the colour illustrations of larger maps are little more than thumb-nail reproductions,
The listing seemed very thorough. As a sampling, I found all the maps I looked for (though not necessarily where I expected to find them), and in that quest, I saw several maps that I have had never seen before - which is always a joy - particularly amongst the earliest maps.
A second, but minor, gripe would be the rarity grading, which seemed to over-exaggerate the rarity of relatively common maps, at the expence of the real rarities. On a rarity scale of 1 to10, John Speed's map of Italy hardly rates 8.5. Both Ptolemaic and modern map from the Ulm Ptolemy and Rosselli's map of circa 1492 rate 10. Yet the Rosselli survives in only three examples, while there are over 120 recorded examples of the 1482 atlas, and additionally many surviving loose sheets in circulation.
This book is a real labour of love, written by a collector for other collectors, whose interest is principally in identifying and dating maps in their collections, and this sumptuous volume well fulfils that role, as well as providing a springboard for more in-depth and detailed research, and for its pictures alone should prove an invaluable resource for collector and dealer alike.
by Ralph Hyde
London: London Topographical Society,1999). 84pp. £24.
Reviewed by Lawrence Worms
|The altogether splendid London Topographical Society has been publishing
key texts on all aspects of the history of London for over a hundred years.
The Society's 1999 volume (issued free of charge to members of the Society
- annual subscription £20) is publication number 154 in an impressive
list. It is in every respect a worthy addition to the series.
Ralph Hyde, recently retired from a long and distinguished tenure as Keeper of Prints and Maps at the Guildhall Library, returns to a topic that first engaged him in a 1967 monograph for the old Map Collectors' Circle. It is perhaps a measure of how far our knowledge of cartographic history has advanced in the last thirty years that his original listing of seventy-five mapshas now increased by well over a third: the new volume lists no less than 110 separate manuscript and printed maps of the wards of the City of London.
The wards were the basic units of local self-government in a particular system of civic administration that served (and in a qualified way continues to serve) the City of London from at least the twelfth century. With their elected aldermen they were responsible for the upkeep and preservation of good order within their boundaries. Varying in size (depending on original population density) none extend over an overwhelmingly large area and many are very small indeed. The degree of autonomy they exercised must have lent a portion of local colour or flavour to the individual wards and it is not surprising that early London historians from John Stow in 1598 onwards tend to describe the City ward by ward. Maps of the individual wards hence came into being both to illustrate such London histories and for the more immediate purposes of local government.
In his introduction, Ralph Hyde traces with admirable clarity the history of the ward map from the late seventeenth to the early twentieth century. He provides the clearest statement yet given of the relationship between the earliest published series of these maps (those used to illustrate the 1720 edition of John Stow's Survey of London) and their seventeenth century origins. He also provides a useful analysis of the relationship (or lack of a relationship) between the maps and the large-scale general surveys of John Ogilby and William Morgan, John Rocque and the Ordnance Survey. Proper caveats are issued concerning the degree of trust that may be placed in the various individual series of maps and therefore their utility for historians. There is also much on the splendid and largely unpublished nineteenth century plans made by Samuel Angell and Michael Meredith. Even for those without a specific interest in the wealth of detail the maps give of the street patterns of this most historic of English cities, there is much for the general student both of local government and of publishing history.
The bulk of the text comprises a careful, comprehensive and definitive ward-by-ward and map-by-map catalogue of all the extant maps. These are fully and formally described with succinct and keen-eyed notes of content, of map-maker error, and of an unexpectedly high number of variant states, some of which, I suspect, are previously unreported. The large format of the book allows each block of entries ample space to appear opposite a generously sized reproduction of one of the maps described. The deceptively simple design (overseen by Iain Bain) makes the book a delight to use for what I suppose will be its primary purpose of identifying the individual maps.
As with any such production, there are always some minor quibbles: the addition of tiny plate numbers to the later issues of the mid-eighteenth century Benjamin Cole series of maps would appear to go unremarked; the entries for a handful of the maps omit to state whether the map is manuscript or printed although the inference is easily enough made; and the plans made in the nineteenth century for the City Corporation's Secondary's Department are sometimes referred to as Secondary's Plans and sometimes as Secondary Plans which might imply something a little different but again the context is clear enough. As always, the better the book the more one wishes it were longer - one might, perhaps unreasonably, have liked a little more on some of the individual map-makers and publishers: more on the quixotic Richard Blome, more on the colourful Jacob Ilive and his abortive series of separately published maps, and more on Banister Fletcher, who seems to have combined bringing the ward map into the twentieth century with designing that much-loved landmark (at least to those of us brought up in West London), the Gillette factory on the Great West Road. One might more legitimately have liked a formal listing of the handful of general maps of the City that depict the jigsaw of the ward boundaries all at one view (even though a skeleton map for that purpose is provided). And one might always fantasize about the author going far beyond his remit and providing a full catalogue of comparable local and parish maps for the whole of the London area - but that is simply being greedy. Ralph Hyde has already done far more than his fair share in opening up London's cartographic history. His latest work brings yet another area of that history into full working order as a fully documented, accessible and properly understood source. There will be something new here for even the most adept of London researchers and historians.
The book represents the London Topographical Society's annual publication for 1999. It can be obtained from: