Visit to the Maps and the 20th Century exhibition at the British Library, London

By in Blog 4th Jan, 2017 0 Comments

Last month I had the pleasure of visiting the Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line exhibition at the British Library in London. As a lifelong map obsessive the thought of an entire gallery dedicated to modern cartography was a must-see.

The exhibition didn’t disappoint and was packed full of interesting cartographic curiosities. Starting off with a giant Navy League map of the British Empire published in 1901, the gallery presents dozens of different types of maps from across the 20th Century.

Alongside a host of military maps charting the changing borders of a world shaped by war, there’s also a selection of illustrated propaganda poster maps, secret spy maps and escape maps used by prisoners in World War Two.

It was exciting to see a huge mix of illustrated maps used for tourism and literature too. Some of my favourites were a giant original map of Disneyland, J.R.R Tolkien’s original sketches of Middle-Earth and Harry Beck’s first concept of a simplified London Underground schematic from 1931.

The exhibition runs until the 1st March and if you’re a fellow map fan it’s an essential visit.










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About The Author

Tom Woolley is a freelance illustrator based in Yorkshire. He specialises in illustrated maps, hand-lettering and children's books.