Map By Graphic Design Pioneer Charles Joseph Minard Sells for £5,208 at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions

A map by Charles Louis Minard, sold for £5,208 in Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions sale of Maps & Atlases alongside a private collection of cartographic curiosities on Friday 25th April 2014 at their saleroom, in London’s Mayfair.

Minard (Charles Louis) - Carte figurative et approximative des Tonnage des Merchandises qui ont circulé en 1855

Minard (Charles Louis) – Carte figurative et approximative des Tonnage des Merchandises qui ont circulé en 1855

Carte Figurative et Approximative des Tonnage des Merchandies qui ont circulé en 1855, was a schematic map of the rail and canal routes throughout France and was scaled according to the volume of traffic on each route.

Charles Joseph Minard, 1781-1870, was a pioneer in the use of information graphics, and is considered one of the founders of modern graphic design for conveying statistical information. His work in this field increased significantly following his retirement as superintendent of the Ecole Nationale de Ponts et Chaussées, and inspector of the Corps des Ponts in 1851.

In his article The Thematic maps of Charles Joseph Minard Arthur H. Robinson says about Minard’s work; “The 51 cartes figuratives that come from his fertile mind and adept hand show a combination of cartographic ingenuity and concern with the graphic portrayal of statistical data that was almost unique during the central portion of the century.” The work doubled its pre-sale estimate of £2,000-4,000 selling for £5,208. [Lot 395]

Also attracting fierce bidding was a Russian serio-comic map of Europe dating from 1883 by V.C. Editor K.I. Kordig which sold for £3,224. Although satirical maps have a long history that stretches back to the medieval period and Munster’s Geographica, 1540, it was with the outbreak of World War One that the genre became a media sensation, and increasingly popular as a collectible. This example is printed on a cotton handkerchief, surrounded by declamatory text panels and a title cartouche that translates as Contemporary Map of Europe. [Lot 258]

A private collection of cartographic curiosities attracted interest with globe timepieces ticking up top prices. A French enamel, gilt-brass and rouge marble eight day globe timepiece circa 1890 sold for £3,472 [Lot 45] and a brass patent “Empire Clock” globe timepiece with eight day movement hidden within the pedestal and inscribed The Empire Clock, Cable, Patent 19460, sold for £2,976 [Lot 46]

The sale was held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ London saleroom in Mayfair on Friday 25th April 2014. The auction results are available to view online at