Posted on 27 May 2011 by Keith D Lilley
The project exhibition is now all set up for public viewing and is attracting interest from visitors who stop and view the display.The display is in a perfect spot in the Proscholium, in the entrance hall, with plenty of natural lighting to see the exhibits – the Gough Map itself taking centre-stage of course. Also on display is Richard Gough’s 'British Topography', opened at the page where he begins to discuss the Gough Map with the words: "The late Mr. Thomas Martin shewed to the same society (Soc. of Antiquaries) at the same time (1768) a map on vellum, which he supposed to be of the age of Edward III in which the names of London and York were distinguished by large gold letters. This map I purchased at a sale of his MSS, 1774, and shall subjoin the following account of it, to illustrate the copy made by Mr. Bafire, pl VI. It is drawn on two skins of vellum, in a style superior to any of the maps already described... The roads are marked by lines, and even the miles in each stage. But the greatest merit of this map is, that it may justly boast itself the first among us wherein the roads and distances are laid down." Gough's fold-out engraved reproduction of the map is also there for all to see, plus another facsimile version, in colour, produced by the Ordnance Survey in the mid-twentieth century: So on display, juxtaposed, are three 'Gough Maps', each reflecting different technologies of cartographic reproduction. The slightly angled display of the ('original') Gough Map in particular highlights the variations in the membrane of the manuscript, and of course there’s nothing like seeing the real thing close up, and we’re delighted that the Bodleian Library has created such a marvellous exhibition, marking the end of the Linguistic Geographies project and also, fortuitously, coinciding with the map’s recent addition to UNESCO’s UK Memory of the World Register (see http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/news/2011_may_23). If you want to see this world-renowned map ‘in the flesh’ as it were, then now is a great time to do so – the exhibition closes on June 26 2011.