The British Library Map Collection

Britain’s world-famous national library is home to some of the world’s greatest literary and cartographical treasures. Numbering over 4.5 million maps, plans, globes and topographical artefacts, its cartographic collection spans the geographic, the historical, the artistic and even maps as tools of indoctrination. The unique collection encompasses maps of the world, continents, countries, empires, great cities and even places of fiction such as Utopia. The British Library’s earliest work is a Roman map over 2,000 years old. Other masterworks include The Psalter world map from 1260, The Queen Mary Atlas, intended as a beautifully embellished gift from Mary to her husband Philip II of Spain and the astonishingly detailed Augsburg town plan from 1521.

The collection of The Map Company is the result of years of research within the walls of The British Library.

Usually these items can be accessed only by registered readers and viewed in one of the Library’s reading rooms. The archive, situated in the basements of the Library, contains millions of maps and views, most of which have never been seen by the public, and which are stored, safe but undiscovered, from one generation to the next. All archive pieces are original and The Map Company has worked tirelessly with the British Library to shed light on this facinating historic collection.

Our work with the British Library helps bring these treasures to a wider audience and allows map enthusiasts around the world to own a beautiful reproduction that they can enjoy in their own home.

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