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Bogota as the Prime Meridian!

Rare large format map of most of Colombia (omitting a small portion of the west coast, to the west of the Rio Quito, bearing the signature of William Lidstone, C.E.

The map contains political division with added color, indicates the existing railroads with red lines and those under construction with a line of red dashed lines.

The present map would appear to be the first edition of the map, issued in June, 1899, with a facsimile signature.  A second edition was issued in 1903, with the title modified to add the words "By William Lidstone, C.E." 

William Lidstone  was an  English civil engineer and artist born in Kingsbridge, Devon in 1843, died in Bogotá, Colombia, in 1927.  Co- author of Fifteen thousand miles on the Amazon and its tributaries by C.B. Brown and W. Lidstone and Charles Barrington  (1878).  The map was referred to in one publication as “the most reliable map of that region” (The Emerald Deposits of Muzo, Colombia, By Joseph E. Pogue,, Ph. D., Evanston, Illinois. Transactions of the American Institute of Mining Engineers. Vol. LV, 1917 .Arizona Meeting, September, 1916. )

The Geographical Journal, Vol 21, No 3,(March 1903) includes the following entry describing the map:

The title of this map is decidedly vague and indefinite, but the "part' of the Republic of Colombia it refers to as shown on the map, includes the departments of Bolivar, Magdalena, Santander, Antioquin, Tolima, the western part of Boyaca and Cundinamarca, and the eastern half of Cauca. The map thus represents all the  central and most important region of Colombia, including the capital and the courses  of the rivers Magdalena and Cauca.

The geographical features of this country are  still very imperfectly known, and, with the exception of the route-surveys of mining  engineers and a few others, little additional information is to be obtained that is not  given on Cedazzi's large atlas which was published over sixty years ago.  Any addition  to our knowledge is therefore specially welcome. Mr. Lidstone, the author of this map, in the pursuit of his profession as a civil engineer, has travelled extensively in the country, and from his route-surveys, combined with other information, this map has been compiled.  In many districts, however, the map is not nearly so complete as it might have been if the surveys of others had been properly utilized.  An instance of this is to be  found in the northern part, where Mr. F. A. A. Simons has worked for years, but the  results of whose surveys seem to have been almost entirely ignored. Had the information contained on his maps of the departments of Bolivar and Magdalena and of the river Sinci been made use of, Mr. Lidstone could have rendered his map far more complete. The map is printed in colours, and shows railways existing and in course of construction.


The map is very rare.  OCLC locates 3 examples (SMU, University College, Cork, and the Institute for Historical Research (UK)).

We locate no other examples on the market or at auction in any standard reference work.

Condition Description
Dissected and laid on two sheets of linen, as issued. Original slip case.
Edward Stanford Biography

Edward Stanford (1827-1904) was a prominent British mapmaker and publisher. A native of Holborn in the heart of London, Edward was apprenticed to a printer and stationer at the age of 14. After his first master died, he worked with several others, including Trelawny W. Saunders of Charing Cross. Saunders oversaw young Edward’s early career, ensuring that he became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Associations with the Society eventually brought Sanders much business and gave him a reputation as a publisher of explorers. As testament to this reputation, the Stanford Range in British Columbia was named for him by John Palliser.

Stanford briefly partnered with Saunders in 1852 before striking out on his own in 1853. He was an agent for the Ordnance Survey, the Admiralty, the Geological Survey, the Trigonometrical Survey of India, and the India Office. He also controlled the maps of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, another lucrative source of income. In 1857, Stanford founded his namesake Geographical Establishment, with Saunders and A. K. Johnston as engravers. Thereafter, Stanford was known for his “library maps”, particularly those of Africa and Asia.

Although he had authored many maps, the Harrow Atlas of Modern Geography and a similar volume on classical geography, Stanford is better remembered today as the leader of a successful map business. Ever in search of more inventory, he acquired the plates and stock of John Arrowsmith, heir of the Arrowmsith family firm, in 1874. By 1881 he employed 87 people at his premises at 6 Charing Cross Road, Saunders’ old address. As he aged, he phased in his son Edward Jr. to run the business. He died in 1904. The business survived him, and the Stanford’s shop is still a prominent London landmark today.