Map. Pen and ink with watercolor. Sheet measures 7 x 8.75". Archival frame 9 3/4 x 11 1/2 inches.
Lovely manuscript map depicting France as divided into territories. Color-coded in shades of gray, the map is largely unlabeled except for a few islands and the surrounding waters identified. The Pyrenees mountains along the border of Spain and France are rendered in a delightful furry manner.
This map dates to circa 1880 and was most likely made by a student or apprentice as training in geography, drafting, and penmanship. Hand drawn map-making was a useful educational tool in the 19th century, a period of imperialism and increased world trade in which geography grew significantly as a field of study.
In the United States and northwestern Europe, reform movements that sought to improve the quality and accessibility of childhood education pushed for the inclusion of geography in school curricula. One method of teaching was the making of maps. Working from wall maps, globes, and atlases, students were made to meticulously hand-reproduce maps in pen and ink and with watercolor. Such techniques not only provided a way to review and retain geographical knowledge, but they also functioned as training in penmanship, calligraphy, and drafting. These maps are now called 'schoolgirl' or 'schoolboy' maps and they straddle the line between art, memory devices and geography.