Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Atlas: A World of Maps

January 29 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Discover the unique map collection of the British Library

Tom Harper, Lead Curator of Antiquarian Maps, leads you on a journey through some of the rarest and most significant maps found in our collection, based around his latest book, Atlas: A World of Maps from the British Library.

From the publication in 1595 of the first ‘atlas’ by the Flemish cartographer Gerhard Mercator, the term has become a universally adopted title for books containing accurate, uniform and evenly spread maps of all or some of the world. Tom’s book is an atlas with a difference. Few of the maps shown could reasonably be called ‘accurate’ in the modern sense and could almost certainly not be used to plan a journey. In this lecture, packed with images, we travel in a way that regular atlases do not allow. By looking at old maps and getting to know their stories we can be transported back to the times in which they were made.

Tom Harper is Lead Curator of Antiquarian Maps at the British Library. His publications include the British Library exhibition catalogue Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line, and A History of the 20th Century in 100 Maps, which he co-authored in 2014. The generous, full-colour illustrations of each map in Atlas: A World of Maps from the British Library range from the Klencke Atlas (1660) to Hokusai’s Map of China (1840–41), from a 1682 pirate map of Guatemala to 20th-century cartographic postcards featuring maps of Australia. Atlas is the definitive printed showcase of the British Library’s extensive and unparalleled map collection.

At the Knowledge Centre of the British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB

Tickets £12 / concessions

Further information


January 29
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


British Library
01937 546 546


The British Library
96 Euston Road
London, NW1 2DB United Kingdom
+ Google Map