The Friends of the Bodleian Library welcomes members and alumni to a lunchtime lecture on September 23, when map librarian Nick Millea will share insights about the remarkable cartographic collections of Bodley. The lecture takes place amid the recently opened new exhibition, Talking Maps.
Drawing on the Bodleian's unparalleled collection of more than 1.5 million maps, this exhibition brings together an extraordinary selection of ancient, pre-modern and contemporary maps from a range of cultures and in a variety of formats as well as showcasing fascinating imaginary, fictional and war maps.
Talking Maps explores how maps are neither transparent objects of scientific communication, nor baleful tools of ideology, but proposals about the world that help people to understand who they are by describing where they are.
Highlights on show include the Gough Map, the earliest surviving map showing Great Britain in a recognizable form, the Selden Map, a late Ming map of the South China Sea, and fictional maps by CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. Map treasures from the Libraries' collection will be shown alongside specially commissioned 3D installations and artworks, and exciting works on loan from artists and other institutions.
In a separate note, Bodley’s Librarian Richard Ovenden recently noted that Friends of the Bodleian had through their generosity helped several acquisitions or books and restorations, among them the restoration of a 9th century German copy of the Gospels, MS. Laud Lat. 102, and the acquisition of a unique copy of Voltaire’s epic poem La Henriade. Ovenden contrasted this with unfeigned excitement at having netted an extraordinary modern work by authors Gaylord Schanilec and Clark Garry, Mayflies of the Driftless Region (2005). The book, considered one of the finest artist’s books produced in this century to date, features 14 intricate engravings of mayflies living on the Mississippi River. (Pictured - below).