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1851 Tallis Illustrated Map of London

Tallis's Illustrated Plan of London and its Environs in commemoration of the Great Exhibition of Industry of all Nations, 1851. - Main View

1851 Tallis Illustrated Map of London


One of the most decorative maps of London of the 19th century.



Tallis's Illustrated Plan of London and its Environs in commemoration of the Great Exhibition of Industry of all Nations, 1851.
  1851 (dated)     17 x 23.25 in (43.18 x 59.055 cm)     1 : 24000


A superbly decorative 1851 John Tallis map of London with elaborate pictorial surround, this map was touted on its release as 'the most beautiful and perfect Plan of London ever produced.' With a finely engraved border consisting of forty illustrated views of London 'public buildings and places of amusement', the map lives up to the publisher's boisterous claim. Centered on Charing Cross, coverage extends from Stamford Hill to West Ham and from Brixton to Shepherds Bush. The map was issued to showcase the genius of British cartography, printing, and engraving at the 1851 Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, held in London.
The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations
The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, sometimes referred to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition in reference to the magnificent temporary structure in which it was held, was a World's Fair that took place in Hyde Park, London, from May 1 to October 15, 1851. It was the first in a series of World's Fairs: exhibitions of culture and industry that became popular in the 19th century. The Great Exhibition was organized by Henry Cole and by Prince Albert, husband of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, Queen Victoria. On the opening day, more than 2500 of the global elite attended.
Publication History and Census
This map was published by John Tallis for release during the 1851 Industry of All National Exhibition. The map was engraved by John Rapkin. The decorative surround is the work of H. Lacey. There appears to be only one edition but in various formats including dissected here, and as foldouts in Tallis's Illustrated Atlas and Modern History of the World. Well represented institutionally but scarce on the private market.


John Tallis and Company (1838 - 1851) published views, maps, and atlases in London from roughly 1838 to 1851. Their principal works, expanding upon the earlier maps of John Cary and Aaron Arrowsmith, include an 1838 collection of London Street Views and the 1849 Illustrated Atlas of the World. The firm’s primary engraver was John Rapkin, whose name and decorative vignettes appear on most Tallis maps. Due to the embellishments typical of Rapkin's work, many regard Tallis maps as the last bastion of English decorative cartography in the 19th century. Although most Tallis maps were originally issued uncolored, it was not uncommon for 19th century libraries to commission colorists to "complete" the atlas. The London Printing and Publishing Company of London and New York bought the rights for many Tallis maps in 1850 and continued issuing his Illustrated Atlas of the World until the mid-1850s. Specific Tallis maps later appeared in innumerable mid to late-19th century publications as illustrations and appendices. Learn More...

John Rapkin (July 18, 1813 - June 20, 1899) was an English mapmaker and engraver. Born in Southwark, Rapkin was the son of George Rapkin, a shoemaker, and his wife Elizabeth Harfy. Rapkin and his brother Richard both became engravers and his other brother, William Harfy Rapkin, became a copperplate printer. Rapkin produced works for James Wyld and John Tallis, including The United States and the relative position of Oregon and Texas for Wyld around 1845, and a series of eighty maps for Tallis that became 'Tallis's illustrated atlas, and modern history of the world' in 1851. Rapkin married Frances Wilmot Rudell on January 4, 1837, with whom he had at least eight children, some of whom became engravers, including his sons John Benjamin Rapkin (1837 - 1914), Alfred Thomas Rapkin (1841 - 1905), Joseph Clarke Rapkin (1846? - 1912), and Frederick William Rapkin (1859 - 1945). Rapkin operated under the imprint 'John Rapkin and Sons from 1867 until 1883, and was operating as 'John Rapkin and Sons' by 1887. Rapkin died in 1899 at the age of 85 soon after the death of his wife of over sixty years. Learn More...


Very good. Original linen backing stable. Accompanies original red gilt-stamped binder.


Rumsey 11711.002. OCLC 52516930.