Maps, Atlases and Globes

652 TUTOR: Wayne Bennett (MA)

Explore the history of cartography, map publishing and globe-making from the earliest of times through to the present day. Beginning in the ancient world, you will quickly find yourself in medieval Europe and beyond. The impact of printing and maritime exploration will be assessed and you will discuss the extraordinary stories of the Cassini family in France, the Ordnance Survey in Britain and the Great Trigonometric Survey of India. This rich subject will open up many new insights and has the potential to surprise and shock. No prior knowledge will be assumed.

1 AM
AM course

Course Notes


Ancient and Medieval Maps

We will start by considering the very earliest extant examples of what might call maps. Most are enigmatic and ambiguous yet they provide glimpses of what we understand a map to be - at least in a general sense. The classical world of scholars such as Ptolemy will push us forward to a more modern sense of modern map-making and geographic knowledge.We will conclude with a look at medieval maps including a series of fabulous and intriguing mappa mundi.


Maps of Exploration and Conquest

Here we will encounter some of the great names and instruments of maritime navigation including Bartolomeu Diaz, Columbus, the astrolabe and portolan charts. We will see how the creation of the Ottoman Empire and competition between nation states facilitated the making of maps. The combination of seafaring trade and the emergence of printing in renaissance Europe were catalytic in the emergence of new empires and centres of power.


Atlases and Globes

The advent of printing enabled geographic knowledge to be celebrated in volume. As printing techniques evolved, great books of maps were produced that could describe the disposition of distant places from the comfort of a desk. Globes could also be manufactured with ease and accuracy. We will look at many examples of this enterprise and consider the political implications of these developments.


Theodolites and Triangles

The demand for accuracy in map-making went hand-in-hand with the development of scientific enquiry and new political structures of authority and control. We will see how Christopher Saxton was first to map England and Wales with some degree of accuracy, but it was the French who took things to a higher level with the commissioning of the great topographical map of France. Britain followed and we will see how this led to the foundation of the Ordnance Survey and how their techniques informed the Great Survey of India led by Sir George Everest.


Other Worlds, Modern Maps and Navigation

On our final day we will consider the enormously varied uses of maps and how the new technology of computers and satellites has transformed our understanding not only of our own world but those of worlds beyond our own. We will look transport maps, street maps, military maps, maps from other countries, satirical maps, star maps and much else. The ubiquity of maps will be demonstrated and we will conclude in a short discussion of 'what next?'

Course Tutor

Wayne Bennett


About Wayne


After an initial training and career in the theatre (including working in London's West End and for over four years at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden) Wayne studied fine art and art history at Camberwell School of Art and Goldsmiths' College, University of London, where he obtained a first class honours degree. He studied archaeology at Exeter University and has a Master's degree in Art History from the Open University.For two years he worked for the Contemporary Art Society based at the Tate Gallery and for 23 years was General Manager and Director of Dillington House - Somerset's Residential College of Adult Education until his retirement in 2015. He now divides his time between his research interests - archaeology, cartography, cultural history, music and art.He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


Gift vouchers

Request a brochure

Summer School Entertainment 2022


FREE Online Lecture - Problem People Running Downing Street

With only a couple of months to wait before Summer School returns, now's the time to...

More News

All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 11 Jul - 15 Jul

WK 2 18 Jul - 22 Jul

WK 3 25 Jul - 29 Jul

WK 4 1 Aug - 5 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM