‘Map of Matrimony’ by George Skaife Beeching, c. 1880. (Photo: Courtesy Barron Maps)
CARTOGRAPHY IS ALL ABOUT CREATING ACCURATE, detailed maps
- so that travelers know what to expect when setting out on a journey.
- But not all of these journeys involve physical travel
— matrimonial maps provide a visual guide for the adventure that is courting, engagement, and marriage.
Matrimonial maps emerged in the 18th century
- but were most prominent during the 19th century.
- They depicted states of emotion, milestones, and stages of intimacy in as geographical features.
- With these fanciful maps for reference, a single gal could chart a course
--- from the Land of Spinsters to the Region of Rejoicing,
--- bypassing Lonely Isle along the way.
- Likewise, unmarried gents could envision themselves setting off for a voyage
--- from the Country of Single Men,
--- navigating the choppy waters of the Sea of Introduction, and
--- arriving in Valentine Bay, the gateway to the City of Dames.
Rod Barron, a British-based antiquarian book and map dealer, has assembled a delightful array of matrimonial maps
- dating from the mid-1700s to the 20th century