British Empire Throughout the World, Exhibited in One View


John Bartholomew and Co. was a mapmaking firm established in Edinburgh, Scotland, by John Bartholomew, Sr. (1805-61). His son, John Bartholomew, Jr. (1831-93), carried on the business. In the 1830s, the firm secured the commission to produce the maps in the Encyclopedia Britannica, which it held for the next 90 years. The business grew in the late 19th century as the British Empire expanded abroad and educational opportunity increased at home, driving up demand for maps. Among the cartographic innovations attributed to the firm were the use of red to indicate British possessions around the world and the technique of contour-layer coloring to represent topographical features through gradations in color. In this map, which probably dates from the 1850s before contour coloring was used, a note at the top states: “The British Possessions are engraved in a bolder character and coloured Red.” The use of red or pink for this purpose became common practice in the Victorian age. The map is also framed by idealized images of friendly encounters between British colonists and indigenous inhabitants in four different parts of the globe: Australia, North America, British Asia and the East Indian Islands, and the Cape Colony and Southern Africa.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

A. Fullarton & Co., Edinburgh


Title in Original Language

British Empire Throughout the World Exhibited in One View

Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : color ; 26 x 49 centimeters

Last updated: September 18, 2015