Bacon’s Chart of Useful Knowledge.

Bacon’s Chart of Useful Knowledge.


George Washington Bacon & Co

Published 1912, London

Size: 40.5" X 30.25"

Condition: Very Good. Full professional restoration.  Area of infill to title cartouche not affecting lettering.  Small areas of loss along top and bottom margins where rollers where once attached.


A rare, beautifully designed and fascinating wall map issues by  C. W. Bacon & Co. of London.

The map, using Mercator’s projection, depicts the world at the onset of the 20th century that is adorned with a plethora of wonderful imagery and facts.  The map, with its encyclopedic scope of  information, provides a time capsule of sorts of the state of the world during a period of extraordinary geopolitical and social change that predates  the two World Wars and the apogee of the British Empire’s power and influence.

The map is depicted in a manner where the world is surrounded by insets of annotations and pertinent imagery that is both a source of information and artistry.

The map, unlike earlier states, re-arranges the images and insets in a manner that is a testament to the changes in consumer tastes, without loosing any factual relevance. 

Some of the facts and imagery that can be seen on this world map include, a depiction of the solar system, different transportation methods, such as camel and packhorse caravans, ox wagons, stage coaches, steamships and railway trains, and Aeroplanes and motor cars.  Also included is a wonderful circular band that surrounds the map with national flags, and depictions of the world’s loftiest and most famous buildings, an index of different cities of the world with their populations and a brief description, images of different peoples based on their ethnographic or cultural characteristics, images of comparative views of Mountains and Rivers of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, scenes depicting different national costumes, a register of one hundred of the world’s great men and famous battles of the world, a depiction that shows different gold coins in circulation throughout the world, and a comparative time chart of the world with London at the centre.

This fantastic wall map is a reminder, and thus of great importance to collectors, of the confluence of different social, economic and political forces that came to dominate and shape the worldview of the late 19th  and early 20th Century.  Although this worldview had, by this time, become dominated by that of trade and commerce following the Industrial Revolution, this worldview was underpinned by a greater awareness of different peoples living in it and also of the importance that scientific knowledge played in the exploitation of trade and commerce.  In other words, people saw the world not only through that of a geographic lens of discovery, but also through factual knowledge  necessary to the understanding of this new world based on trade and commerce. 

Other issues of this map are occasionally found on the market with some factual differences or different portraits and imagery being used .  However, all issues are rare with this example not being found in any institution.