‘greater accuracy than is to be found in any book of the kind published in this or any other country’ – Professor Charles W. Withers
In 1832 John Thomson published the first large-scale atlas of Scotland organised by county. Not only did this provide an invaluable and accurate picture of Scotland prior to the Clearances but it also marked out this Atlas as a highly significant milestone in the history of mapping. Thomson’s Atlas of Scotland was the first since Blaeu’s famous publication to map the land from accurate surveys and collected information. He announced that: ‘the New County Atlas of Scotland will either be derived from Actual Surveys; or where such cannot be obtained, from other authentic materials, so corrected by the Attestators, and their Assistants, as to ensure greater accuracy than is to be found in any book of the kind published in this or any other Country.’
The Atlas contains 58 large format, double-page maps of mainland Scotland, the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland. Two stunningly beautiful drawings illustrate the ‘Comparative heights of the principal mountains of Scotland’ and ‘Comparative lengths of the principal rivers of Scotland’. An Introduction explains in detail how each of the maps was prepared and a full index of places appears at the back of the book.
This high-quality limited edition is case-bound in real cloth with a protective slip-case, with each copy individually numbered, contains two introductory essays by Professor Charles W. Withers of the University of Edinburgh and by Chris Fleet and Paula Williams of the National Library of Scotland.
John Thomson was an atlas publisher in Edinburgh and this ambitious task was a labour of love and commitment so huge it even contributed to his bankruptcy. Yet he persevered and, with the support of friends, the atlas – begun in 1820 – was finally launched in 1832.