Introduction to Bartholomew Survey Atlas of Scotland, 1912

John George Bartholomew (1860-1920) was the fourth generation of the famous Bartholomew engravers and mapmakers, and under his combined vision and abilities, the firm prospered. In 1883 he took control of the business, moving the company to new premises on Park Road, Edinburgh, in 1889, and renaming it as the 'Edinburgh Geographical Institute'. His broader promotion of Scotland, geographical enquiry and scientific knowledge, combined with cartographic skills such as his innovative layer colouring of relief, and accurate, up-to-date mapping are all evident in the Survey Atlas of Scotland. Although it is the second edition of 1912 shown here, the Atlas was first published in 1895 by the newly formed Royal Scottish Geographical Society, that J G Bartholomew had done much to initiate.

The Atlas consists of 23 pages of preliminary textual and statistical matter include contributions from scholars such as the brothers James and Archibald Geikie, both Professors of Geology at Edinburgh (and the latter Director-General of the Geological Survey) on Scottish physical features and geology, along with a detailed carto-bibliography of Scottish cartography 'from the earliest times to the present' by J G Bartholomew. The main body of the Atlas includes 68 plates of mapping, 45 covering Scotland at the half-inch to the mile scale series, updated from the latest Ordnance Survey work, along with thematic and historical maps of Scotland, and more detailed town plans of 11 larger towns.

In contrast to the previous Atlas of Scotland by John Thomson in 1832 (which resulted in Thomson's bankruptcy), the Bartholomew Survey Atlas was revised and republished in 1912, which is the edition shown on this website, again providing a comprehensive scholarly and informative snapshot of the country. Our Survey Atlas shown on this website is a draft, largely uncoloured version of the 1912 edition from our Bartholomew Archive.

The Bartholomew mapmakers continued to thrive following their move to Duncan Street in 1911, going on to produce a variety of national, educational and thematic atlases and maps, including The Times Survey Atlas (1922) and the five-volume 'mid-century' edition of the Times Atlas of the World (1955-1960).

Further reading

Gardiner, L, Bartholomew: 150 years (Edinburgh, 1976)
Royal Scottish Geographical Society (ed.) The early maps of Scotland to 1850, vol 1. (Edinburgh, 1973)