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150 historic maps of Dorset go to auction at Dorchester

By shill  |  Posted: February 11, 2014

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The rare 1575 Christopher Saxton Dorset map

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A fine antique map of Dorset is a lovely thing to hang on the wall at home, and many people have one or perhaps two such maps decorating their homes.

One resident of Poole, Edward Gillis decided to do just this back in the 1970s, but his interest did not stop at one or two maps, it grew to a collection containing more than 150 different maps of the county.

From the earliest known printed map of the county, a magnificent work by Christopher Saxton of 1575, to the maps of the latter part of the Victorian period, his collection captures the fascinating history of map making and production for the county of Dorset. From one inconsequential purchase in the 1970s developed a passion and hobby that spanned the following 40 or so years, and resulted in what must surely be one of the most thorough collections of county maps to have ever been amassed.

His collection will now be sold at Duke’s Auctioneers, Dochester on Friday 14th February.

The collection includes almost every map to have been printed of the county between 1575 and 1875. One of the highlights of the collection is an excellent example of Christopher Saxton’s map, seen by many collectors to be “the jewel in the crown of any collection”. The handcolouring on this map still remains very bright despite being more than 400 years old. It was published in the first ever printed set of maps detailing the counties of England and Wales in 1579 and carries an auction estimate of £800-£1,500.

Other notable early maps in the collection include examples by William Kip, John Speed and John Bleau. From the 18th century, the fascinating large scale map by Isaac Taylor is one of the most interesting, and rarest maps in the collection. Almost certainly produced as a result of the Royal Society of Arts’ challenge to cartographers to produce an accurate large scale map of the county, this is an historic and very rare example in good condition.

It is expected to make between £600 and £800. While these are some of the more expensive examples in the collection, the auction will also give the opportunity of securing a map for a smaller budget with some group lots of five or six maps estimated at under £100.

From the later period there are the highly decorative maps by C&J Greenwood and Thomas Moule, as well as some difficult to find maps such as the decoratively bordered map from a school atlas by Reuben Ramble of 1745.

The auction will take place at 10.30am.

Further details can be obtained from the auctioneers on 01305 265080 or enquiries@dukes-auctions.com

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