17th century map of Mull

17th century map of Mull

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This map of Mull is one of those originally prepared by Scottish cartographer and clergyman, Timothy Pont (c.1565-c.1614). The eldest son of clergyman Robert Pont, Timothy spent much of the period between 1583 and 1596 travelling the length and breadth of Scotland compiling a remarkable series of maps.

These maps, so far as is known, form the first survey ever prepared of the whole of Scotland. They were revised and added to by Robert Gordon of Straloch (1580 - 1661), and his son James Gordon, parson of Rothiemay (1615 -1686). The revised work consisting of three general maps of Scotland, 46 maps of Scottish counties or regions, and six maps of Ireland were subsequently published in 1654 by Joannis Blaeu of Amsterdam as Volume V of his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, sive Atlas Novus.

In the preface to Blaeu's Atlas there is an 'Epistle' by Robert Gordon where he says of Timothy Pont:

"He travelled afoot over the whole kingdom, which no person before him had done. He visited all the islands, inhabited for the most part by a barbarous and uncivilized people with a language different from ours and where he was often despoiled by cruel robbers - as I have heard him relate - and suffered all the hardships of a difficult and dangerous journey without growing weary or ever losing his courage"

Volume V of Blaeu's Atlas superseded all earlier maps of Scotland, and for the next 100 years was used by virtually every cartographer as a basis for drafting maps of Scotland. The work had been in preparation for 25 years and the various editions, with the text in Dutch, Latin, French and German were all dated 1654.

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Thirty six of the Scottish regional maps have the name of Timothy Pont as author. The surviving manuscripts are now held in the National Library of Scotland.

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A copy of this map of Mull, published by J. Blaeu in 1654, hangs on one wall of The Lachlan Macquarie Room. It was purchased by Macquarie University in 1978 from John Grant [booksellers and map dealers located at 13-15 Dundas Street, Edinburgh]. At that stage the map was unframed; it was subsequently mounted and framed in Australia in 1979.

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