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1842 S.D.U.K. Map of the City of Calcutta, India

Calcutta. - Main View

1842 S.D.U.K. Map of the City of Calcutta, India



  1842     12.5 x 16 in (31.75 x 40.64 cm)


This is a S.D.U.K. map or city plan of Calcutta, India. Calcutta was once the administrative capital of British India. The lower part of the map is decorated by several beautiful engraved illustrations of important Calcutta locations, including the Government House, Esplande Row, and the Writer's Buildings. As much as possible individual streets are indicated as are souks and bazaars. Published by 'Chapman and Hall of 186 Strand Street in November of 1842.'


The "Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge" (1826 - 1848) was a Whiggish organization founded in 1828 at the instigation of idealistic British lord Henry Peter Brougham. The admirable goal of the Society was to distribute useful information via a series of publications to the English working and middle classes. It promoted self-education and the egalitarian sharing of all knowledge. While closely tied to the London University and publishing houses on the order of Baldwin and Cradock, Chapman and Hall, and Charles Knight, the Society failed to achieve its many lofty goals in finally closed its doors in 1848. Most likely the failure of the Society resulted from its publications being too expensive for its intended lower to middle class markets and yet not large and fine enough to appeal to the aristocratic market. Nonetheless, it did manage to publish several extraordinary atlases of impressive detail and sophistication. Their most prominent atlas consisted of some 200 separately issued maps initially published by Baldwin and Cradock and sold by subscription from 1829 to 1844. Afterwards, the Society combined the maps into a single world atlas published under the Chapman and Hall imprint. In its day, this atlas was unprecedented in its quality, scope, and cost effectiveness. Today Society, or S.D.U.K. as it is commonly known, maps are among the most impressive examples of mid-19th century English mass market cartographic publishing available. The S.D.U.K. is especially known for its beautiful and accurately detailed city plans. More by this mapmaker...


Maps of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. Vol1. 1844.    


Very good condition. Narrow right and left margins – as issued. Blank on verso.


Rumsey 0890.168. Branch, M.C., An Atlas of Rare City Maps, p. 54-55.