Currency and Cartography is an solo exhibition by artist Justine Smith, available to view in the gallery space at The Map House in Knightsbridge, a specialist map dealer (and treasure trove crammed with thousands of other maps, globes, illustrations and other prints – be warned you will get lost browsing in this small but perfectly formed shop) until 10 October. Justine has combined banknotes from countries around the world, cutting them to match the shapes of national borders and then assembling maps of countries, continents and indeed the whole world.
As well as the currency theme, Justine has produced, in collaboration with The Map House especially for this exhibition, the print that we are featuring here: the “Whittington Map”, which is a historic map of central London, gilded with 23.5 carat gold leaf along the complex City street network, and the main roads leading to the Square Mile. The streets on this map therefore really are “paved with gold”, as the phrase from the tale of Dick Whittington and his cat goes. The gleaming Whittington Map are available from the Map House in a limited edition of 30 prints, along with a number of the currency/cutout style maps mentioned above.
The Map House has so many treasures that we feel a need to feature more maps from them here! If you do visit, as well as looking at the Currency and Cartography exhibits (in the gallery at the back), don’t miss the many globes at the front space, and the lovely old clockwork devices for showing how the relative positions of the Earth, Sun and Moon change – with candles and devices for focusing them into a sun-equivalent beam. And map drawers full of maps – as far as the eye can see. Finally, tube map geeks will like the collection there, including the one below (apologies for the reflections in the photograph) that shows the river controversially in white and has numerous unbuilt extensions, but also a very rare first-run first-edition Beck map (the first one with the network drawn as straight lines) from 1933. The price for this last piece is strictly on application. Currency and Cartography finishes on 10 October but the other works remain – until they are sold!
Thank you to The Map House for an invitation to a reception for Currency and Cartography.