This ‘life-story’ begins not at the ‘birth’ of Chapman’s map, but at the end, or at least the twilight. The raison d’etre for creating the map is one of the central questions of this dissertation, but whatever the answer, the map has long since ceased to be a topographical record of ‘contemporary’ Nottinghamshire. At the beginning of the 21st century, nearly 240 years after its publication, Chapman’s map is an historic document. If it survives at all then it is as an ageing, fragile artefact, preserved in archives and libraries. But does it survive and if so where?
The Extant Copies
A search of online library catalogues (British Library, Worldcat, Copac) identified six extant copies of the map published by Chapman in 1776, there may be others in private hands. Each has been coded for ease of reference in the following discussion. The facsimile edition of the map (Henstock 2003) is based on Map 76(1).
Chapman’s map was originally printed in black and white in 4 sheets, but not one of the extant maps is in that original form. Transformations have taken place, possibly more than once, the timings of which are unknown. It is quite likely that some of the maps are in a form specified by their original purchasers and supplied by Chapman, others were transformed later.
Four of the maps are coloured and two, 76(3) and 76(6), are black and white with only the boundaries of the county and the hundreds highlighted. In all cases the sheets have been joined and mounted on a linen backing. Three of the maps 76(1), 76(4) and 76(6) were dissected into smaller sheets (32, 9 and 16 respectively) before being mounted on linen and then folded, presumably for ease of storage.
Only 76(6) would appear to be in an original, or near contemporary form, with no evidence of an earlier transformation. The 16 folded sheets are stored in a slip case made of stiff paper or card.
Map 76(4) shows evidence of having been folded after the sheets were joined and before being dissected. Map 76(1) has regularly spaced pin holes along each edge suggesting that the joined paper sheets were originally displayed in a frame.
Maps 76(2), 76(3) and 76(5) are now rolled for storage, but pin holes around the edges of 76(2) and 76(5) suggest that they too were once framed for display. Map 76(3) has the remains of cloth tape attached to the vertical edges and large regularly spaced holes on the top and bottom edges and it is likely that at one time it too was mounted on rollers for display and storage.
From this brief description of the extant maps, a number of questions arise:
- Who were the original purchasers?
- Why were they purchased?
- How were they used/stored/displayed?
- Why were the maps transformed and by whom?
- How did they find their way into the archives?
Finding answers to these questions was one of my objectives, however a disappointing result of the research has been that the archives in which these maps are now stored have little information about their provenance. The exceptions are: 76(3) which was deposited in the Derbyshire Record Office as part of a collection of papers from Radbourne Hall, home of the Chandos-Pole family; and 76(4), 76(5) and 76(6) which formed part of the Topographical Collection of King George III donated to the nation in 1828. The history of the maps in the Nottingham Central Library and University Collection is not known, although we can speculate that they originated with 18th century purchasers in Nottinghamshire and have never left the county.
At least 6 copies of the 1776 edition of Chapman’s map have survived the ravages of time. The physical condition of all these maps and the known provenance of a few, provide some evidence that they were acquired for the topographical information they contained as well as their decorative qualities, and that they were stored in libraries as well as being displayed