Cartographer and map publisher. Born in Edinburgh and brought up at Inveresk, he was given his middle name after Christopher Columbus by a romantic father, also John Bartholomew (1890 - 1962). He was educated at St Trinnean's, Edinburgh Academy and Gordonstoun, where he was a contemporary of Prince Philip, and read geography at the University of Edinburgh. After a cartographic apprenticeship, he was taken into the family business, John Bartholomew & Sons, the sixth generation to have been a map-maker.
Bartholomew was responsible for converting the company's famous half-inch series to 1:100,000 scale and for the development of The Times map projection for the five-volume Times Atlas of the World, published in the mid-1950s. He also produced the single-volume Comprehensive Edition first published in 1967 and an Atlas of Europe (1974).
Bartholomew and his brothers sold the business to Reader's Digest in 1980 and the company left its base in the Edinburgh Geographical Institute in 1995. In 1964, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and he served as President of the British Cartographic Society (1970-71), President of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (1987-93) and Honorary President of the Scottish Rights of Way Society from 2004.
He died at his home in Edinburgh, with a funeral at St. Peters RC Church (Morningside) and Mortonhall Crematorium.