Maps and Society Lecture Series

These lectures focus on the history of maps and mapping worldwide, from earliest times to the twentieth century, with an emphasis on the social and cultural factors of the maps’ context, production, and use. Many speakers are internationally well-known scholars in the subject, but early-career speakers are also encouraged. The meetings advance understanding of non-current maps both through formal proceedings and informal encounters with established practitioners, who include academics, librarians, map collectors, and dealers. The style of the well-illustrated lectures is scholarly but accessible to an audience whose own interests and expertise range widely.
Lectures in the history of cartography convened by Catherine Delano-Smith (Institute of Historical Research), Tony Campbell (formerly Map Library, British Library), Peter Barber (Visiting Fellow, History, King’s College, formerly Map Library, British Library) and Alessandro Scafi (Warburg Institute). Meetings in London, when these are physically possible, are generously supported by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association.

Meetings are normally held on selected Thursdays at the Warburg Institute at 5.00 pm. Admission free. All are welcome. Enquiries: or

For the 2020-2021 academic year all will be virtual meetings (via Zoom) unless otherwise informed.

Please book your free place via the links below


Programme of events for 2020-2021


Autumn 2020

Persuasive Cartography: Art, Science and Deception

22 October, 5pm - 7pm | Presented by PJ Mode (Collector and Researcher, Curator of the Persuasive Maps Collection, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY, USA)

Book Now


Annotated Atlases: Unravelling Stories of Personal Provenance

10 December, 5pm - 7pm |  Presented by Dr Ronald Grim (formerly Curator of Maps, Norman B. Leventhal Map and Education Center, Boston Public Library, USA)

Book Now


Spring 2021

Bathymetric Maps of Tokyo Bay: A Transnational History

21 January, 5pm - 7pm | Presented by Dr Radu Leca (Postdoctoral Research Associate, Heidelberg University, Germany)

Book Now


Revised title: 'Chart-making and the Admiralty Hydrographic Office, 1830-1850'

18 February, 5pm - 7pm | Presented by Dr Megan Barford (Curator of Cartography, Royal Museums Greenwich, London. Hakluyt Society Speaker)

Book Now


The Landscape and the Ship. Mapping Seventeenth Century Naval Battles

29 April, 5pm - 7pm | Presented by Dr Djoeke van Netten (Department of History, University of Amsterdam)

Book now


What Is a Map? The Case of Fra Mauro's Mappamundi: Author's Intentions, Modern Receptions

27 May, 5pm - 7pm | Presented by Dr Angelo Cattaneo (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Rome)

Book Now