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Scarce, Victorian, Map Paperweight

Cartographic Curiosity/ Australia/ Asia/ Africa. John G. Bartholomew (cartographer)/ James Macintyre & Co. [Edinburgh, c. 1889-99]
4 inches diameter; 1 1/4 inches high. Cream-colored ceramic base with pink incurved sides, repeating incised geometric border patterns, with water area colored blue. Macintyre company seal on underside; Registration mark underside: Rd. No. 161425. Excellent condition.


An attractive, scarce, cartographic curiosity that is an unusual artifact of European colonialism of the Victorian period. Adelaide, Sydney, and Melbourne are the cities shown in Australia, and both "Cape Colony" and "Cape Town" appear in southern Africa. The 1889 date of that item is confirmed by the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, which holds the archive of the Bartholomew firm. In it is the original order for two copperplates by Bartholemew on Aug 28, 1889: "Engr the reverse way for transf to pottery the 2 hemispheres World for £5 as per quote. Delivered Oct. 22."
James Macintyre & Co. were manufacturers of earthenware at Burslem, one of the six towns that amalgamated to form the current city of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, in the Midlands of England, which was the center of ceramic production in Britain. John Bartholomew & Son, Ltd. has published maps and atlases from the 19th century to the present day. Its founder, John G. Bartholomew (1831-1893), was a Scottish cartographer, mapmaker and publisher, who was one of the founders of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. He was trained by his father, who had a cartographic establishment in Edinburgh. After working as the assistant to the German geographer, August Petermann, he took over his father's firm in 1856. His Edinburgh Geographical Institute built a reputation in Great Britain for the production of the finest cartographic work, including a notable series of contour maps of Great Britain derived from the Ordnance Survey. After John Bartholomew’s death, the firm continued to have a distinguished reputation in map publishing, receiving international recognition for their cartography for the Times Atlas (1895) and during the 20th century for The Times Survey Atlas and The Times Atlas of the World.

Birks, Steve. "James Macintyre & Co." Ceramic Marks: North Staffordshire Pottery Companies and Trade Marks; Jamieson, Kerr, "The Royal Scottish Geographical Society: The Society's History." Royal Scottish Geographical Society. 10 February 2003.

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