John Bartholomew

1831 - 1893

Cartographer. Born into a family of printers, copper-plate engravers and map-makers in Edinburgh, Bartholomew trained with his father and in Germany. In 1856 he took over the family business and built a reputation for accuracy and the finest cartography. He developed the business which, in 1860, acquired its own steam-powered colour lithographic printing presses. Bartholomew also travelled to North America to expand his market. However, he is best known for the development of a layer system of colour-contouring which made Bartholomew's maps distinctive for the following century. This used a shades of green to represent low altitudes and shades of brown to indicate areas of high altitude. He first showcased his system at the Paris Exhibition of 1878 and contour shading using a variety of colours has gone on to be widely used around the world.

He retired from the family business in 1888 and was succeeded by his son John George Bartholomew (1860 - 1920). Bartholomew died in London but lies buried next to his parents in Grange Cemetery in Edinburgh.

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