The series concludes by delving into the world of satirical maps. How did maps take on a new form, not as geographical tools, but as devices for humour, satire or storytelling? Graphic Artist Fred Rose perfectly captured the public mood in 1880 with his General Election maps featuring Gladstone and Disraeli, using the maps to comment upon crucial election issues still familiar to us today. Technology was on the satirist’s side with the advent of high-speed printing allowing for larger runs at lower cost. In 1877, when Rose produced his ‘Serio Comic Map of Europe at War’, maps began to take on a new direction and form, reflecting a changing world.
Rose’s map exploited these possibilities to the full using a combination of creatures and human figures to represent each European nation. The personification of Russia as a grotesque-looking octopus, extending its tentacles around the surrounding nations, perfectly symbolised the threat the country posed to its neighbours.
The Beauty Of Maps looks at the art of maps, their historical significance, their relevance to modern map-making, and how they shape the future of cartography. A documentary series looking at maps in incredible detail to highlight their artistic attributions and reveal the stories that they tell. Experience five of the world's most beautiful old maps and discover their secrets. Each programme will focus on one specific map and use human stories and testimony, original sketches and artistic impressions, private journals and historic archive sources to tell its story. The series addresses the cartographers' role and the impact their creations have had within the art world and includes interviews with artists and Peter Barber, Head of Map Collections at the British Library.