Both the Matthew Paris and Gough maps show an outline of Scotland, albeit unrecognizable, but for other early maps we have to look to the work of continental cartographers rather than to national sources; to rudimentary Italian and Catalan portulan charts of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, which are rare indeed, and to the various editions of Ptolemy from 1477 onwards. Up to 1508, the Ptolemaic maps show Scotland on an east-west axis, and although this is corrected in later editions, the general coastal outlines bear little relation to reality and we must turn to George Lily's map of the British Isles published in Rome in 1546 (with other editions up to 1589) to find a genuine representation of the coasts and islands. Lily's sources are not known with any certainty but presumably he used local manuscripts of some kind made, perhaps, during a voyage round Scotland by James V about 1540. Sebastian Munster's map of England and Wales (Basle 1540 and later editions) shows only the southern part of Scotland to just beyond Edinburgh with the national flag adjacent to it. Other maps, known from only one or two copies, include an anonymous one derived from Lily's map, printed in Italy about 1566, which was the earliest known separately printed map, and those of John Leslie, Bishop of Ross, compiled during exile in Italy and France in about 1578, based on the Lily and Ortelius maps and printed in Rome or Rouen in the last quarter of the century. The best outline map, or rather chart, of Scotland produced in this period was by Nicolas de Nicolay, printed in Paris in 1583. Nicolay, a much travelled Frenchman, claimed to have based his work on an earlier manuscript map drawn in about 1546 by Alex. Lindsay, pilot to King James V.
As might be expected, single-sheet maps were included in atlases by Ortelius, Mercator, Hondius, Camden, Speed, Blaeu and Jansson among others. Of these the best known is Speed's highly decorative map which, as well as being geographically realistic, shows full-length portraits of the Stuart reigning family. Speed's maps were re-issued in numerous editions until 1652 when the plate was re-engraved and four figures in national costume were inserted in place of the royal portraits .
Although these general maps were splendid in their way and often very decorative, there was no set of individual county maps comparable to Saxton's At/as of England and Wales until 1654 when Part V of J. Blaeu's At/as Novus was published in Amsterdam as the At/as of Scot/and containing 55 maps. This was the first comprehensive atlas of Scotland and the maps in it had a long and chequered history, having been prepared originally by a Scottish minister, Timothy Pont, who travelled widely and carried out surveys of much of Scotland from about the year 1583. Pont failed to find a patron or a publisher although his map of Lothian and Linlithgow was published in the Mercator/Hondius Atlas of 1630. His manuscript maps and drawings eventually came into the hands of Robert Gordon and his son James, who undertook the work of re-drawing and correcting the original maps, as well as adding a number of their own. After long delays the maps were published in 1654 with texts in Dutch, Latin, French and German. They were also included in the later Atlas Major issued in the following years: 1658-72 (Spanish), 1662 (Latin), 1663 (French), 1664 (Dutch) and 1667 (German). As in the case of Blaeu's atlases of England and Wales, there were no issues with English text. In this instance Jansson did not attempt to compete with Blaeu in producing his own atlas but from 1636 onwards a small number of maps of Scotland and the Islands appeared in the MercatorHondius-Jansson atlases and in Jansson's own atlas of 1646 and its subsequent editions.
From this time onwards, maps of Scotland appeared in most atlases published by major cartographers of all nationalities. Although maps were published in great quantity, there was still a need for more accuracy and between 1747 and 1755 a detailed survey of the Highlands and part of the Lowlands was carried out by William Roy, who eventually became one of the founders of the Ordnance Survey Office.
It would obviously be beyond the scope of this handbook to attempt to include details of all the maps printed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries but the following are of particular interest:
JOHN ADAIR fl. 1686-1718
A mathematician, living in Edinburgh, who embarked on a considerable number of cartographic enterprises but through shortage of money and ill luck few of them came to fruition. His maps of several Scottish counties, although completed in the 1680s, were not published until long after his death.
- 1688-93 A true and exact hydrographical description of the Sea Coast and Isles of Scotland: published in 1703
- 1727 Nova Scotiae tabula, published in Buchanan's Rerum Scoticarum Historia
HERMAN MOLL fl. 1678-1732
- 1701 Scotland, in A System of Geography
- 1708 The north part of Great Britain
- 1714 The north part of Great Britain ca/led Scot/and
- 1718 A Pocket Companion of Ye Roads ofye north part of Great Britain ca/led Scot/and 1727 and later editions
- 1725 A set of Thirty Six New and Correct Maps of Scot/and 1745 Re-issued
CHRISTOPHER BROWNE fl. 1684-1712
- 1705 North Britain or Scot/and
SUTTON NICHOLLS fl. 1695-1740
- c. 1710 A New Map of North Britain or Scotland
THOMAS TAYLOR fl. 1670-1721
- 1715 The North Part of Great Britain called Scotland
- 1720 A new Mapp of Scot/and or North Britain 1731-76 Re-issued
JOHN ELPHINSTONE 1706-53
A military engineer who served With the Duke of Cumberland at Culloden in 1746. His New and Correct Mercator's Map was criticized by Thomas Jefferys for its inaccuracies but it was generally recognized as a great improvement on all earlier maps of Scotland.
- 1745 A New and Correct Mercator's Map of North Britain 1746 Re-issued
EMANUEL BOWEN fl. 1714-67
- 1746 A new and accurate map of Scotland or North Britain
- 1747 A new and accurate map of Scotland
THOMAS KITCHIN 1718-84
Apart from the maps listed below, Thomas Kitchin produced a large number of other maps of Scotland for atlases by Wm Faden, Carrington Bowles, and Sayer and Bennett, among others.
- 1749 Geographia Scotiae (12 mo) Pocket Atlas of 33 maps 1756 Re-issued
- 1771 Scotland with the roads from the latest surveys
- 1771 Scotland from the best authorities
JAMES DORRET fl. 1750-61
Little is known about Dorret except that, although employed as a valet by the 3rd Duke of Argyll, he claimed to be a land surveyor, evidently not without reason for at the Duke's order and expense he prepared a new large-scale map of Scotland which was so great an improvement on earlier maps that it remained the standard for the country for something like forty years.
- 1750 A general map of Scotland and Islands thereto belonging - in 4 sheets 1751, 1761 Re-issued on a smaller scale
MURDOCH MACKENZIE 1712-97
A notable hydrographer who carried Out the first scientific marine survey on a measured baseline in this country. After completing a survey of the Orkneys begun in 1742 as a private venture he was commissioned by the Admiralty to survey the west coast of Britain and all the coasts of Ireland, the results of which were published in 1776. He was succeeded as Admiralty Surveyor by his nephew, also Murdoch MacKenzie (1743-1829).
- 1750 Orcades, or a Geographic and Hydrographic Survey of the Orkney and Lewis Islands
- 1776 A Maritime Survey of Ireland and the West Coast of Great Britain
Plate: ABRAHAM ORTELIUS Scotiae Tabula Antwerp 1573. This map, published in the Theatrum Orbis Terraram, was based on Mercator's wall map of the British Isles compiled in 1564 and remained the standard map until 1611, when Speed's new map was issued.
Plate: JOHN ADAIR Mapp of Straithern, Stormoant and Cars of Gourie. Although this map by John Adair was engraved by James Moxon probahly about 1685-86, it was not published until after Adair's death in 1718.
Plate: MURDOCH MACKENZIE Pomona or Mainland (The Orkneys). Published in 1750 in Mackenzie's Orcades, or a Geographic and Hydrographic Survey of the Orkney and Lewis Islands
DANIEL PATERSON fl. 1771-91
- 1771 A New and Accurate Description of all the Direct and Principal Cross Roads of Scotland
ANDREW ARMSTRONG fl. 1768-81
Traded with his son Mostyn Armstrong (below) as Captain Armstrong and Son. Surveyed and published a number of maps of Scottish and English Counties.
- 1775 A New Map of Scotland
- 1775 Bowles New Pocket Map of Scotland: published in Bowles Universal Atlas
MOSTYN JOHN ARMSTRONG fl. 1769-91
- 1776 An Actual Survey of the Great Post Roads between London and Edinburgh
- 1777 A Scotch Atlas or Descrtption of the Kingdom of Scotland 1787 Re-issued by John Saver 1794 Re-issued by Laurie and Whittle
GEORGE TAYLO R , ANDREW SKINNER fl. 1772-85
- 1776 Survey and Maps of the Roads of North Britain or Scotland
- 1776 The Traveller's Pocket Book
CARRINGTON BOWLES 1724-93
- 1782 Bowles's new and accurate Map of Scotland
- 1782 Bowles's new pocket Map of Scotland 1795, 1806 Re-issued
MARCUS ARMSTRONG fl. 1782
- 1782 A new Map of Scotland (road map)
JOHN AINSLIE 1745-1828
Worked with Thomas Jefferys on Surveys of a number of English counties before Setting up business in Edinburgh as a bookseller and land surveyor. His output of county and coastal surveys and estate plans was prolific: he is best known for his large-scale map of Scotland published in 1789.
- 1783 Ainslie's travelling Map of Scotland 1789 Re-issued
- 1789 Scotland Drawn and Engrav'd from a Series of Angles and Astronomical Observations (9 sheets) Numerous re-issues to c. 1840
JOHN CARY c. 1754-1835
- 1789 Wm Camden's Britannia: New and correct maps of the South and North parts of Scotland 1806 Re-issued
- 1790 The Travellers' Companion: A Map of Scotland Numerous re-issues
- 1808 Cary's New Universal Atlas: A new Map of Scotland
AARON ARROWSMITH 1750-1823
- 1807 Map of Scotland 1810, 1840, 1841, 1849 Re-issued
JOHN THOMSON (AND CO.) fl. 1814-69
- 1820-32 Atlas of Scotland (large folio)
ROYAL SCOTTISH GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY, The Early Maps of Scotland to 1850 with a history of Scottish Maps Contains detailed listing of maps of Scotland
SHIRLEY, R. W., Early Printed Maps of the British Isles 1477-1650 Although covering maps of the British Isles much of the detail contained in this book also covers the history of Scottish maps
SKELTON, R. A., County Atlases of the British Isles 1579-1703 Includes detailed description and collections of the Blaeu/Jansson atlases of Scotland
TOOLEY, R. V., Maps and AlapMakers Includes detail of large-scale surveys