• Meacham’s ATLAS Part 4/4 – Art, Architecture and Landscape

    https://www.islandimagined.ca/meachams_atlas The Prince Edward Island atlas is embellished with 163 lithographed views of various Island buildings, farmsteads, commercial establishments, churches, and broad rural landscape. Among those topographical categories are works of art, at a minuscule scale, that display extraordinary skill in presenting very ordinary rural scenes with compositional genius. The Artists At present, we know virtually nothing about the artists Meacham employed in his various projects. Looking closely at the 163 views in the atlas it is easy to see different hands in the composition of the pictures, some just adequate and others very skilled. Throughout the writing of these posts on Meacham’s atlas I only came across the name…

  • Meacham’s ATLAS Part 3/4 – The Maps

    The first great atlas Atlases have been a vital tool of the civilised world since the Sixteenth Century when in 1570 Abraham Ortelius, a Flemish cartographer and geographer published a huge book of woodcut maps called Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, or Theater of the World. Courtesy of Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc.   It was at a time when in Europe the word theatre had an extraordinarily wide and varied meaning from the anatomical theatres in places like Padua where the human body was explored in detail for the first time (below left), and published, with great engravings (Met New York) that looked like maps (below right), by the Dutchman…

  • Meacham’s ATLAS Part 2/4 – Planning and Reaction

    What do you suppose made James Hubbard Meacham, fresh from his two county atlas publishing ventures in Ontario and Nova Scotia, come up with a proposal to publish a provincial atlas, consisting of three counties? That is what Meacham did in Prince Edward Island. Compared to his previous projects this one was huge as far as territory was concerned, with sixty-seven 20,000 acre townships, each one a microcosm of the whole in itself. Up to this moment there had been a series of maps of the Island, beginning in the 1830s, that over the years had refined and corrected the outline of the Island, begun the process of sorting out…

  • Part 1/4 – Who was Meacham and what was his Atlas?

    Sixty years ago, when I was eighteen years old, I came across a very battered huge atlas of Prince Edward Island that people called “The Old Atlas.” I was thrilled by it, not only for its double folio page spread of the map of the Island, which contained more information than I had ever seen on any other map at that time in my life. To my amazement I also discovered that it contained large scale maps of every Lot or Township in the Province. Quickly and easily – it was appropriately the first one in the atlas – I turned to Lot 1, my home lot, where I had…

  • The Maps Between Lake and Meacham – Confederation, Geology, and the Railway, 1864-1880

    Colonists fight British Feudalism. For a hundred years the settlers on the British Colony of Saint John’s Island/Prince Edward Island lived on the land in a manner that was unknown anywhere else in North America. When Samuel Holland produced his great map in 1765, the townships he created with a regularity that homogenised the topography of the landscape, belonged entirely to another country and another time. It was almost impossible for a settler to own his own property because the colony was set up in such a way that a perpetual landlord/tenant relationship was established for all time. This led to terrible and grotesque hardships for those who, at their…