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So often it is the intention of successive generations to record, for posterity, the history of their own times, and so often these good intentions have been thwarted by other commitments...[1]

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Home Page and Genealogy of a Family of Geographers and Mapmakers

John George Bartholomew 1860-1920
Portrait by E.A.Walton RSA.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh

This portrait was painted to commemorate John George receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Edinburgh in 1909 and shows him in his robe with set of compasses and a globe, symbolising his activities.

This website is dedicated to the Bartholomew mapmaking family and its story in text and pictures. The public part of this site provides links and resources for researchers who share an interest in the history of the family company, John Bartholomew & Son Ltd, the cartographic tradition and the people behind it.

Bartholomew map posters

By the late 18th century the city of Edinburgh was well established as the centre of Scotland’s flourishing publishing industry. Without doubt, one of the companies responsible for this enviable reputation was John Bartholomew & Son. From humble beginnings the Bartholomew firm became the world’s pre-eminent publisher of maps and atlases, carrying for many years the title of Geographers and Cartographers Royal.

It was George Bartholomew (1784-1871), an engraver with Daniel Lizars of Edinburgh, and the first of six generations in the Bartholomew map-making dynasty, who initially set the Bartholomew family on the road to cartographic fame. However, it was his son John Bartholomew Senior (1805-1861) who really established the reputation of the Bartholomew firm.

Setting up in business as a map engraver in 1826, he soon gained recognition as a skilled cartographer and businessman. Under the subsequent guidance of John Junior (1831–1893), John George (1860–1920), John (Ian) (1890–1962), and John Christopher (1923-2008), the business continued to prosper by introducing new production techniques and by pushing cartographic design to new levels of excellence. In 1980 the business was sold to Reader’s Digest and then in 1985 to News International. [2]

The content of this site borrows editorial material from many publicly available sources. Where possible, these have been acknowledged. Genealogical information is available thanks to many years of dedicated research by Robert Bartholomew (1927-2017).

Privacy is assured and information has been suppressed for living family members.

[1] Peter H. Bartholomew, Forward to "Bartholomew 150 Years", 1976
[2] Mick Ashworth - Harper Collins

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