London, South Kensington
8 April 2009
MACCULLOCH, John (1773-1835). A Geological Map of Scotland. London: S. Arrowsmith, 1832 [but 1836]. Large hand-coloured folding engraved map (1848 x 1483mm), engraved in four main sections to the scale of 4 miles to one inch, the whole dissected and laid down on linen, the title printed onto a large slip and pasted over the original title in the south-western portion (as published, see below). (Some occasional very light offsetting.) Contained in a contemporary straight-green morocco slipcase (cover flap missing, extremities scraped and abraded, closure slot defective, but the whole still sound).
EXTREMELY RARE GEOLOGICAL MAP OF SCOTLAND. MacCulloch started his professional life in 1795 as surgeon's mate in the Royal Artillery. Later he transferred to the ordnance chemical department, where during the Napoleonic wars he was responsible for analysing purity of sulphur and nitrate shipments for gunpowder mills. When the powdermill wheels of Belgian limestone wore out in 1809, MacCulloch was assigned the task of locating British replacement limestone, and thus began his paid geological fieldwork. In 1824 ordnance establishments were cut, the chemical department abolished, and the ordnance geological survey was transferred to the Treasury. From 1814-1831, MacCulloch spent each summer surveying central and southern Scotland to complete his map. Costs exceeded £1000 per year, and these were challenged in parliament during 1830?31 MacCulloch suffered a stroke in 1831, but he rallied to draft the final reports and map which were demanded by the Treasury when prompted by Robert Jameson, who roused the Highland Society to seek publication. Arrowsmith provided the base map, but the geology was not engraved on it until 1836. There are four known issues, of which the first two appeared in the same year. This is the second issue, and is the only one to have 'Geological Map' in the title, which was printed onto a large slip and pasted on. THE RAREST OF THE THREE PIONEERING GEOLOGICAL MAPS OF THE BRITISH ISLES; according to ABPC, no copies have sold at auction since 1975. Eyles 1937; cf. Challinor p.90.
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