Object History: Mapmaker's Drawers

drawers noun /drawr/ 1. a box-like storage compartment without a lid, made to slide horizontally in and out of a desk, chest, or other piece of furniture.

 

For as long as humans have been roaming and exploring the globe, cartography, or mapmaking, has been an integral part of how we understand and navigate the layout of the world we tread. Having developed from simple cave drawings depicting a hill and river to the intricate, colourful and detailed maps by 19th century surveyors like Captain Matthew Flinders, maps and cartography documents are always an item of fascination for me. Interestingly some of the earliest known maps are actually of the stars, rather than the layout of landscapes. And I love how early mapmakers, as a way of skirting around uncharted or dangerous territory, left a simple inscription of 'here be dragons'!

Of course, one needs the perfect structure to store and preserve such precious documents and plans. There isn't much on the origin of specific cabinets tailored to suit the needs of cartography, but I can only imagine a captain or explorer commissioning a fine carpenter to construct a chest of drawers to have in his ship's cabin, where the maps could live in relative un-scrolled safety, free from the nibbles of the ship's resident rodents.

Are you looking for a sturdy cabinet to store your seafaring documents, or found treasures? We currently have this vintage chest of drawers available in the shop. Take a look at it on our shop page for more details.

FILED 30, Jun 2016

  • SYDNEY SHOP & STUDIO 3.02 75 Mary Street St Peters NSW 2044
  • MONDAY - FRIDAY 10AM-4pm OR BY APPOINTMENT
  • 02 9516 5643
  • SYDNEY SHOP & STUDIO 3.02 75 Mary Street St Peters NSW 2044
  • 02 9516 5643
  • MONDAY - FRIDAY 10AM-4pm OR BY APPOINTMENT