FTo me, rare maps are a wonderful amalgamation of art and science, myth and metaphor, discovery and design; At their core, they are beautiful vehicles for a good story,” says Daniel Crouch, co-founder of Daniel Crouch Rare Books, a specialist dealer in cartographic antiques.
If art in the home has only one true function, it is surely to tell a compelling story. It turns out that maps can do this brilliantly well.
According to interior designers working on some of the country’s most impressive homes, maps, whether antique, contemporary, printed, painted, engraved or engraved, can contribute to a highly personal and visually striking interior design scheme.
For Emma Deterding, founder of interior design studio Kelling Designs, displaying maps in residential projects not only adds color and detail to main rooms, but also offers a personal feel to clients who have entrusted her team with creating a house that reflects your family and your values.
“We always go by county,” says Emma, to introduce an immediate sense of place and familiarity. “Especially interesting are the maps you can find of 18th century London, as they show a lot of social and economic history. One option for me is Atlas of Places, a public educational collection of architecture, maps, painting, photography, etc.
Another fantastic online resource for finding the type of maps you want to get is Oculi Mundi. This new digital environment houses the Sunderland Collection, a growing private collection of ancient world and celestial maps from 1200 to the early 19th century. The initiative, managed by Helen Sunderland-Cohen, current Keeper of the Sunderland Collection, aims to offer free access to an otherwise private collection to cartography enthusiasts, academics, researchers and non-experts worldwide.
When it comes to choosing which maps to display in your home, Helen advises thinking about the “theme of the map and how it relates to the people who live in the property, their memories or its location.” For Helen, maps are “fascinating conversation pieces because they contain many place names and decorative details such as cherubs, clouds, sea monsters and winds, and different details will appeal to different collectors.”
“Old maps also come in a surprisingly wide range of sizes, from small gems to large, imposing wall maps,” says Helen, “so it’s wise to consider location before purchasing. A map can create a strong spotlight placed behind a desk or on a mantelpiece, or a smaller, brighter map can provide a wonderful pop of color to brighten a dark corner.”
Once you have a map or collection of maps that you like in your hands, it’s time to start thinking about the logistics of hanging and displaying them. Scott Maddux, co-founder of interior design firm Maddux Creative, says, “I adore vintage and vintage maps, particularly those adorned with visually captivating and meticulously crafted hanging mechanisms such as ‘pull-out’ features.”
Framing is also a simple and popular way to display maps at home, and for Olga Alexeeva, creative director at interior design company Black & Milk, “it plays an important role in how maps look and feel in your space, improving the overall visual appearance. attractive and complementing the style of your space.”
Emma of Kelling Designs believes maps should be hung in a “reasonably structured way, hanging a set in matching frames. This always ensures that they appear disciplined and informative, which is what maps are intended to do.”
For Helen and Daniel, it’s about displaying the maps in a way that prioritizes age, patina and uniqueness. “Choose a good quality frame that complements the map without being overwhelming,” says Helen, adding that you might consider “placing the map on top of the stand rather than underneath, showing off the old paper and the wonderful texture of the surface.”
For Daniel, it is crucial that the map be shown as a “complete object, showing its margins, defects and everything.” For purists, Daniel notes that this is an “honest, archival way of doing things,” joking that of course this style of framing “also looks fresh and minimalist in contemporary interiors.”