Exotic Adornments and Old Maps: The Art of Kristjana S Williams


ksw_map_smallArtist Kristjana S Williams, originally from Iceland but now based in west London, specialises in collages of vividly coloured, exotic creatures. A number of her works have included adorning such animals around the edges of old maps – often artworks in their own right – creating a distinctive “frame” around the map and perhaps harking back to the days when maps were the preserves of ocean-going explorers, discovering weird and wonderful things in round-the-world voyages.

As well as global maps, Kristjana has worked with a number of London-specific old maps, including Lundanar Kort (excerpt on the right) based on Mogg’s 1806 map we featured only very recently, Round London (above), based on a 1791 map by Paterson, Markets Royale, set upon Cary’s 1824 plan of London, and a Transport for London commission which frames a pre-Beck London Underground map (shown below). Lundanar Kort has several editions of its own, with the same basemap but a differing assortment of fantastic adornments surrounding it. The “Gull Sky” edition includes profile sketches of a number of London buildings, old and new.

There’s something very compelling about the mashup of old maps and colourful animals that is hard to pin down!


Kristjana is represented by Outline Artists and her work is available at Outline Editions. I first came across her work at the “Art Cartography” solo exhibition late last year at The Map House in Knightsbridge, a rather wonderful map/art dealership which deserves a post of its own here sometime.

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