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Rare map restored

A rare 17th Century map, restored by the National Library of Scotland, is revealing the close links between Scotland and Europe. (Published 28 Nov, 2016)

A rare antique map found stuffed up a chimney in Aberdeen has been saved by conservation experts at the National Library of Scotland. Known as the ‘Chimney Map’ it dates back to the 17th Century and had been used as a draft excluder before being rescued during renovations. Now, following extensive restoration, the map is thought to be one of only three of its kind in existence and would have been an extravagant status symbol measuring 2.2m by 1.6m (7x5ft), hung on a wall to be admired by visitors.

Dr Esther Mijers, Lecturer in Scottish History at the University of Edinburgh, has been involved in a short film documenting the map’s journey from rags to riches and its evidence of close links between Scotland and Europe in history.

‘The Chimney map is a visual reminder of the many Dutch goods which reached Scotland in the late seventeenth century on a daily basis, either directly or via London. It must have been a stunning object in its day and a good example of the high quality maps for which the Dutch were so famous. Anyone would have been proud to have this displayed in their house and the Scots were lucky to have relatively easy access to such materials, on account of their close commercial and cultural links with the United Provinces.’

You can find out more about the map and watch two films on its restoration, including interviews with Dr Mijers and Edinburgh author, explorer and University of Edinburgh graduate Dr Gavin Francis, at the National Library of Scotland website.