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Description

Rudolf Swoboda the Younger's Hand-Annotated Map of India. Showing the Journey Undertaken During his Royal Commission to Sketch Queen Victoria's Subjects.

Map annotated by Rudolf Swoboda the Younger showing the route taken during one of the most important commissions of his career, his 1886 journey to India to paint the people of western India.

Rudolf Swoboda the Younger was one of the most important late-18th-century European painters of India and its people. A noted painter of Orientalist subjects, he found favor with Queen Victoria in 1886 at the age of twenty-seven when he painted Indian artisans that had traveled to Windsor Castle for the Golden Jubilee preparations. The Queen was so pleased that she immediately sent him to India to provide £300 pounds worth of sketches with the following orders:

 The Sketches Her Majesty wishes to have – are of the various types of the different nationalities. They should consist of heads of the same size as those already done for The Queen, and also small full lengths, as well as sketches of landscapes, buildings, and other scenes. (Quoted by the Royal Collection Trust)

This map, published at Stanford's Map Establishment in London in 1885, was evidently used on this journey. In the upper left, we see the annotations in a mix of German and English for a train journey between two locations in the vicinity of Islamabad. More interestingly, we see that Swoboda underlined various cities between Mumbai and Rawalpindi. 

These underlined cities correspond perfectly to many of the places visited by Swoboda on his journey. Swoboda evidently arrived in Bombay, then traveled north to Gujarat to sketch Sir Pratap Singh of Idar, one of the two princes who Queen Victoria had expressly asked to be painted. From there, Swoboda traveled to Lahore to paint soldiers, Islamabad to paint priests, and Kashmir to paint a boatman. All these places and many more are underlined on the map.

Swoboda's sketches were received in England with the utmost praise. Queen Victoria said of them that they were: "such lovely heads… beautiful things." Sir Howard Elphinstone, Governor to Prince Arthur, described them as "They are very clever indeed, most characteristic of the different types, & drawn with wonderful vigour."

Condition Description
Map dissected in thirty pieces and mounted on original publisher's linen. Original hand-color. Bound into red cloth covers. Manuscript signature "Rudolf Swoboda" on front fold. Further manuscript annotations to map.
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.