Bauerkeller’s New Embossed Plan of London

Georg Michael Bauerkeller, BAUERKELLER'S NEW EMBOSSED PLAN OF LONDON, 1841. London: [Rudolph] Ackermann & Co, 1841.    
Relief map, lithographically printed in colors and then embossed, 25 ¼”h x 42 ¼”w, segmented and mounted on linen. Housed in original slipcase with black morocco label and title in gilt. Some wear at corners of dissected segments and at edges, and some “bowing” to the individual segments. Trimmed at sides and base, with loss of border and imprint.

One of the most visually striking maps of London, printed by George Michael Bauerkeller by a combination of colored lithography and embossing.

The map depicts central London, from Regents Park in the north south to Lambeth and Kennington, and from west to east from High Street Kensington to the West India Docks and Limehouse Reach, mapped at a scale of six inches to the mile. An inset at upper right details Greenwich and the Isle of Dogs. The city’s many subdivisions are highlighted by printed color in an usually vibrant pastel palette; parks are a verdant green; and buildings and blocks are in raised relief, uncolored. The overall visual impact is highly decorative and surprisingly modern. Dated 1841 in the title, this is the earliest printing of Bauerkeller’s New Embossed Plan of London. A second edition was issued in 1942.

Publisher Rudolph Ackermann described the map in an announcement in the Sporting Magazine Advertiser:

“… The buildings are raised, and, with the railroads, parks, squares, &c. appear very prominent. The parishes are also distinguished in delicate tints, and the entire arrangement is so remarkably conspicuous that, whether for the visitor or the office, its utility will be generally acknowledged” (quoted by Howgego).

The map was designed and produced by cartographic innovator George Michael Bauerkeller (1805-1886). Bauerkeller was born at Wertheim, Germany, but moved to Paris in mid-1837, with his wife and four children. There he established a company “Bauerkeller & Cie.”, which specialized in embossed printing and is best known for its relief city plans as here. He applied for a patent for the production of relief maps in January 1839, which was granted the following year His first printed plan by this process was Nouveau plan de Paris en relief, published in 1839, described as produced “par le procédé géomontographie Bauerkeller, breveté” (“by the patented Bauerkeller geomontography process”). Bauerkeller won a bronze medal at the 1839 Paris ‘Exposition des produits de l’industrie française’ (Industrial Exhibition) for his printing, winning a subsequent bronze medal in 1844 and a silver medal in 1849. 

In total about something like 35 embossed maps by “Bauerkeller & Cie” are recorded, including for example plans of Mexico City, Versailles and Vienna and a map of the environs of Paris.

Howgego, Printed Maps Of London, #377, (1). Rumsey #12224.005. The records in OCLC are a mess, with much apparent duplication, but appear to list perhaps ten institutional holdings of this 1841 edition, of which somewhere between 2 and 4 are in the United States (Yale, University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, Brigham Young. To this list must be added the example in Stanford’s Rumsey Collection. OCLC records a single holding of the 1842 edition, at the British Library.