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Number: 2271
Continent: Africa
Region: Continent
Place Names:
Year of Origin: 1772
Title: AFRICA, Divided Into Its Several Regions, and laid down according to the most exact Observations.
Sub-Title:
Language: English
Publish Origin: London
Height: 45.4
Width: 56.6
Units: centimeters
Size Class.: Medium
Scale: 1 : 19,821,400
Color Type: Full Color
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Cartographer: Robert Sayer
Engraver:
Publisher: John Spilsbury
H. Mutlow
T. Woodman
Other Contributors:
Northernmost Latitude:
Southernmost Latitude:
Westernmost Longitude:
Easternmost Longitude:
Notes: Engraved jigsaw map, original hand-colour, dissected and mounted on wood, some discolouration to corners and even age toning, minor paper loss to a few pieces. Notes The map bears the imprint of T. Woodman and Henry Mutlow, who took over part of Spilsbury's business after his death in 1769. John Spilsbury (1739-1769) is credited with inventing the jigsaw puzzle, when in 1766 he affixed a world map to wood and carved each country out. He would go on to create puzzles of the four continents together with puzzles of England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. The maps were designed as teaching aids for geography classes. As pupils put the pieces together, they would learn how different countries connected to one another. Upon his death in 1769 the business was continued by his widow Sarah May, who would later marry her husband's former apprentice Harry Ashby. Not soon after the marriage Ashby brought in the map and printseller's Woodman and Mutlow to run part of the business. Rare we are unable to trace any institutional example. The British Library has an example of Spilsbury's Africa dated 1667, however, the title varies from the present example, and two pieces (Gabon and Angola) are missing. The Library of Congress has an example of the Asia with the imprint of Woodman and Mutlow, dated 1772.An original dissected puzzle map laid on wood board and dissected into 50 pieces after the late Spilsbury original at No. 30 Russell Court, Covent Garden, London in 1767, and later sold by T. Woodman and H. Mutlow; Spilsbury was an engraver who apprenticed under the cartographer Thomas Jeffreys, the Royal Geographer to King George III. Spilsbury created the first puzzle as a world map in 1767 for an educational tool to teach geography. He affixed a world map to wood and carved each country out to create the first puzzle; he then created puzzles on eight themes - the World, Europe, Asia, Africa, America, England and Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Spilsbury married Sarah May of Newmarket in 1761. After his death she ran his business for a period, then marrying Harry Ashby who had been apprentice to Spilsbury, and who continued to sell puzzles these puzzles; Linda Hannas, in her introduction to the catalog of puzzles displayed at the London Museum in 1968 states, "This evidence makes it reasonable to suppose that John Spilsbury, a cartographer and engraver, was the inventor of dissected maps and therefore of jigsaw puzzles." The evidence she refers to comes from his entry in a 1763 street directory5 that lists him as: "Spilsbury, John. Engraver and Map Dissector in Wood, in order to facilitate the Teaching of Geography. Russel-court, Drury-lane." Also, at least five of his business cards have survived and, at the time she wrote, the oldest known surviving dissection had a Spilsbury cartouche dated 1767. A letter written by Spilsbury to Rev. James Granger6 in 1763 confirms completion and shipment of an order for a dissected map. Another letter, written by William Cowper7 points to the existance of dissected maps in 1762. John Spilsbury was born in Worcester, England in 1739 and about 1753, was apprenticed to Thomas Jeffreys in London. Jeffreys was an engraver, map seller and Geographer to the King. Spilsbury worked for Jeffreys until about 1760, then went into business for himself. He passed away in 1771. By the time Linda Hannas' first book, The English Jigsaw, was published in 1972, she had visited over 35 museums and had viewed close to 600 puzzles made prior to 1890 and she had concluded that John Spilsbury was the inventor of "Dissected Maps". [source Crough and Trimming]; Rare separately published map of Africa by Robert Sayer. This Sayer map of 1772 was in fact the map utilized by the successors to John Spilsbury (1739-1769) for the earliest jigsaw puzzle map of Africa. Spilsbury produced a World map puzzle and puzzles of the four continents together with puzzles of England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. The maps were designed as teaching aids for geography classes. As pupils put the pieces together, they would learn how different countries connected to one another. Upon Spilsbury's death in 1769 the business was continued by his widow Sarah May, who would later marry her husband's former apprentice Harry Ashby. Not soon after the marriage Ashby brought in the map and printseller's Woodman and Mutlow to run part of the business. The present map is the original uncut map sheet. makers of the puzzle, Woodman and Mutlow, placed their label over Robert Sayer's name, before dissecting the map.
Last updated: Apr 28, 2016