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Elizabeth Shurtleff: Map of the Bermuda Islands

Map: tempMid
Cartographer: Elizabeth Shurtleff
Title: Map of the Bermuda Islands
Date: 1930
Published: Boston
Width: 34 inches / 87 cm
Height: 24 inches / 61 cm
Map ref: WIND4175
Large, spectacular pictorial map of Bermuda issued to promote its destination as a tourist attraction.

Elizabeth Shurtleff’s map of Bermuda is often cited as one of the great archetypes of the Golden Age of pictorial maps in the 1920s and 30s. It was heavily influenced by Olsen and Clark’s pictorial maps of Washington, Boston and Philadelphia for the publishers Houghton and Mifflin and they in turn had looked to Macdonald Gill in London for their inspiration. Although Bermuda is not Elizabeth’s first map, (New Hampshire in 1926) it is probably her most memorable.

The distinctive shape of the island is full of vignettes showing important buildings, leisure past times such as golf as well as a whole collection of images which put an emphasis on its history, including a charming reference to Richard Norwood’s seminal survey of the island made in 1618. The sea shows a collection of marine and aerial craft, ranging from the ship of Juan Bermudez, who first found the island in 1505, to the latest dreadnoughts, including a reference to H.M.S. Reknown which brought the Prince of Wales (who went on to become Edward VIII) on the first official Royal Visit to the Island in 1920. Other highlights include a reference to rum running to the United States during the Prohibition which was still active at the time of publishing the map, a depiction of the famous Civil War blockade runner, the CSS Robert E. Lee and Sir George Somer’s ship, the Sea Venture which was wrecked on the reefs surrounding the island in 1609 and ultimately led to the English settlement of the island. In contrast to its marine traffic, a sea plane above the island is flying above a buoy stating that the trip between New York City and Bermuda takes only seven hours and the legendary air ship, the Graf Zeppelin is seen passing over the island, an event that took place in its maiden trans-Atlantic flight in 1928.

Finally, a mention must be made of the distinctive art deco border featuring fish and sea life around the map, designed by Elizabeth McMillin, niece of Helen McMillin, who is given credit as co-creator of the map on a cartouche on the upper centre. Printed colour. Laid on linen. SL [WIND4175]