Nice example of the Title page from this famous British Atlas.
John Tallis was one of the last great decorative map makers before the complete dominance of purely utilitarian, unadorned maps. His maps are prized for the wonderful vignettes of exotic scenes and indigenous peoples from all over the world.
Presented here, amid an elegant frame of scrollwork, are a British Officer, an Arab gentleman, a North American native warrior and a South American native. The scene at the center depicts an encounter between diverse international peoples. Tallis' maps played a key role in educating a curious Victorian public on far away lands, that few would have had a chance to visit.
John Tallis (1817-1876) was a British map publisher. Born in the Midlands, Tallis came to London in the 1840s. Tallis began his London career with a series of remarkable London street views. He began a partnership with a Frederick Tallis, possibly his brother, but their collaboration ended in 1849. For the Great Exhibition of 1851, Tallis published the Illustrated World Atlas, one of the last series of decorative world maps ever produced. The maps were engraved by John Rapkin, a skilled artisan. The maps were later reissued by the London Printing & Publishing Company, who left the Tallis imprint intact, thus ensuring his enduring fame. In 1858, he began publication of the popular Illustrated News of the World and National Portrait Gallery of Eminent Personages, selling it in 1861 (it ceased publication in 1863).