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John George Bartholomew


1860 - 1920

Cartographer. Born in Edinburgh, the son of John Bartholomew (1831-93) a map engraver and publisher. Bartholomew was educated at the Royal High School and University of Edinburgh before entering the family business in the early 1880s. He succeeded his father in 1888. The company shared premises with Thomas Nelson's printing works until 1911, when 'The Edinburgh Geographical Institute' moved to Duncan Street in Edinburgh's Newington district. Bartholomew lived at Falcon Hall in Morningside, which proved overly large and was abandoned. Between 1907 and 1915, he was the last private owner of Newington House, built in 1806 by Dr. Benjamin Bell (1749 - 1806) and demolished in 1966.

Bartholomew is best remembered for his sense of colour harmony which brought him to design an innovative system for layer colouring, involving deepening blues with water depth and a transition from green to buff to white for increasing height of the land. This was first used in his noted Survey Atlas of Scotland (1895), extensively used in the Half Inch Map of Britain and is now widely seen on maps and in atlases across the world. The company produced maps for many publications, but Bartholomew is particularly known for the Times Survey Atlas of the World (1921). He is also credited with coming up with the term Antarctica - first used on a map in 1887.

Bartholomew was appointed 'Cartographer Royal' by King George V in 1910. He was an active member of the geographical community of the time, serving as Honorary Secretary of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (1884 - 1920) and was awarded the Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. The Bartholomew Deep, which reaches a depth of 7154m (23,471 feet)off the coast of Chile, was named in his honour by Sir John Murray (1841 - 1914) whose work Bartholomew had supported.

He died in Portugal.


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