This lovey and rare map, printed on linen, features all of the Isle of Wight, then as now one of Britain’s premier recreational areas. The island was famously the preferred residence of Queen Victoria, who from 1851 until her death in 1901, summered at Osborne House, noted on the map in the extreme northern part of the island, just to the east of Cowes.
Geographically, the map is extremely accurate and detailed, being predicated on the ultra large scale (six inches to a mile) Ordnance Survey of the island, which was conducted from 1861 to 1863. Due to practical limitations of size, this mapping was reduced to the scale of 1 inch to 1 mile, long a standard for English large scale maps. Every town, village, forest and road is depicted and the islands rolling topography is captured by carefully rendered hachures.
Moreover, the map depicts the current state of the island’s railway system, which by then traversed much of the eastern half of the island. The first line to have been completed, in 1862, ran between Newport and Cowes, while the line between Ryde and Ventnor was finished in 1866. The present map was made shortly after the completion of the Brading to Bembridge spur in 1882, but before the construction of lines in the centre and east of the island later in the century.
The map features three detailed plans of the island’s major towns, including ‘Ryde’ (upper left), ‘Ventnor and Vicinity’ (lower left) and ‘Newport’ (lower right).
The map was printed around 1885 by the firm G. W. Bacon & Co. (founded by George Washington Bacon in 1830) mainly to be used by the more affluent tourists visiting the island. The cover notes that it is “A Weather-Proof Map”, “Printed upon Fine Linen. Light, Handy and Durable”, perfect for excursions about a land surrounded by water with changeable weather.
Bacon’s map of the Isle of Wight is today quite rare, as in spite of its “weather-proof” nature many of the examples would have perished due to heavy use.
References: OCLC: 778248855.