This 1851 Newcastle on Tyne town plan by John Tallis is a vibrant, full-color representation of the city, enriched with distinctive architectural and geographical details. Known as one of the last great decorative map makers, Tallis's work stands out for its elaborate vignettes of local scenes and inhabitants, which add a layer of depth and narrative to his cartographic works.
The town plan provides a detailed view of Newcastle on Tyne during the mid-19th century, a period when the city was undergoing a significant transformation due to the Industrial Revolution. At this time, Newcastle emerged as a hub for coal mining, shipbuilding, and manufacturing, leading to substantial growth and urbanization.
The map depicts roads, buildings, railway stations, and the Tyne River, serving as a testament to the city's infrastructural development. Of particular note are the landscape insets of the Railway Bridge, Central Station, the Castle, the Grey Monument, and the High-Level Bridge, each of which adds to the story of the city's growth and evolution during this transformative period.
John Tallis (1817-1876) was a British map publisher. Born in the Midlands, Tallis came to London in the 1840s. Tallis began his London career with a series of remarkable London street views. He began a partnership with a Frederick Tallis, possibly his brother, but their collaboration ended in 1849. For the Great Exhibition of 1851, Tallis published the Illustrated World Atlas, one of the last series of decorative world maps ever produced. The maps were engraved by John Rapkin, a skilled artisan. The maps were later reissued by the London Printing & Publishing Company, who left the Tallis imprint intact, thus ensuring his enduring fame. In 1858, he began publication of the popular Illustrated News of the World and National Portrait Gallery of Eminent Personages, selling it in 1861 (it ceased publication in 1863).