Bartholomew Down Under

As might be expected, a firm as influential as Bartholomew had a sphere of influence well beyond the four walls of their own premises. The correspondence alone that Bartholomew daily received runs the gamut, from Barbados to Kuwait and beyond. But by no means was this an unreciprocated affair. Generations of Bartholomew have travelled the globe, clocking up more circumnavigations than can be remembered but probably even more than Michael Palin. France, Germany, the United States, all three are well trodden paths but maybe more than any other, there is one place where the links seem to have been particularly strong, and that is Australia.

In 1881, a twenty-one year old John George Bartholomew (JGB) made the arduous voyage to Australia, it took him five months to complete. He primarily travelled for leisure and for the sake of his ill health but of course networks couldn’t help but be forged and certainly JGB met the publisher George Robertson at this time. His introduction to the imagined land of the ever present sun was Melbourne, unfortunately for JGB, he landed in a storm but he remarked how well the ubiquitous shop verandas negated getting wet.

JGB spent about two months in Australia. In this time he visited Sydney, Albany, Geelong and ventured into the mountains staying with friends, families and fellow publishers. His time there clearly agreed with him and in letters found in other parts of the Bartholomew Archive he talks with great fondness for the lack of stiffness of manners that characterised the Australians that he met and likened the Murray River to the Tweed, albeit there was a drought at the time.

The links between Bartholomew and Australia remained strong following this trip. In 1892, only four years after taking up the directorship of Bartholomew, JGB over-saw the production of the Royal Australasian World-Atlas. Sold in the UK via Thomas Nelson, in Australia, bookshops and traders from most major cities were also keenly stocking the work. Promotional frontispiece found in the Printing Record include names such as the Melbourne based Melville, Mullen & Slade (in typical irreverent style apparently known as Melons, Muffins and Squash in the trade) to the Sydney based William Dymock and even to the outback mining outpost of Broken Hill via E. S. Wigg & Son.

Be it maps of the country, maps of the states and territories or even maps of the cities there is a wealth of Australian mapping in the Bartholomew Archive Printing Record. And it is almost always distinctively pink and unmistakably unique. The two maps which feature in this blog entry are Frank Lloyd & Co’s Federal Map of Australia, printed by Bartholomew on the 28 June, 1897 and a most attractive map of Sydney printed on the 15 July, 1890. Like the country itself, both maps are physically huge although I can’t help but wonder if Frank Lloyd was being a little loose in his interpretation with the inclusion of New Zealand in his Federal Map.