An Anciente Mappe of Fairy Land
This incredible image titled ‘An Anciente Mappe of Fairyland: newly discovered and set forth’, was created by Bernard Sleigh in 1917. The map offers a wide birds-eye view style panorama of the island of 'Fairy Land' which it describes as 'newly discovered and set forth'. Fairy Land, as documented by Sleigh, is a wonderful juxtaposition of European fairy tales, literature, and Greek mythology. One can travel from King Arthur's Tomb to Peter Pan's House to the 'Bay of Moaning,' or the visit the roost of Dragons, watch Perseus save Andromeda, chat with Hercules, or visit the 'Harbour of Dreamland.' A red line indicates the route of passage 'From the World' to 'a place that never was and always will be.'
As pointed out by map historian Tim Bryars, this map was printed in 1918, the final year of World War I. Bryars astutely asks -
Could the map constitute a yearning for a return to pre-1914 Edwardian innocence? Compared with the devastated, bomb-blasted landscape of northern France, this vision of a make-believe land may have seemed a seductive escape for a European society bearing the psychological and physical scars of mass conflict.
Another approach to this map is to study it within the context of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Sleigh was a close associate of Robert Morris and this map clearly follows Arts and Crafts Movement ideology. The typeface and decoration are very much in the style of Morris's Kelmscott Press and its embrace of tradition pre-industrialproduction techniques.
You can view the full version here, zoom in and explore away!