Tallis's town plan of Manchester, published in London in 1851, is a visually stunning full-color representation of the city in its Victorian prime. This striking cartographic work, elegantly incorporating detailed vignettes of key city landmarks, holds the distinction of being one of the most decorative and sought-after town plans of Manchester from the 19th century.
Tallis's illustrative capacity is prominently displayed in the map's vignettes, which serve to highlight the city's notable buildings and institutions, thus offering a glimpse into the urban landscape of the era. The Royal Infirmary, Royal Institution, Town Hall, Post Office, Free Library, and Collegiate Church are all beautifully depicted, providing the viewer with a visual tour of the city's architectural achievements and the cultural epicenters of Victorian Manchester.
Historically, this map emerged at a time when Manchester was experiencing rapid growth and transformation during the Industrial Revolution. As a bustling hub of industry and commerce, the city was expanding, and the need for detailed, accurate maps was more important than ever. Tallis's map encapsulates this pivotal moment in the city's history, with every detail meticulously crafted to convey the dynamism and vibrancy of Manchester.
The town plan of Manchester was engraved for R. Montgomery Martin's Illustrated Atlas, and is the work of John Tallis, one of the last great decorative map makers. Tallis's maps are highly prized for their wonderful vignettes that depict indigenous scenes and people with exceptional detail. His town plans, however, only appear in a small percentage of his works, which makes this map of Manchester all the more remarkable and harder to obtain than his regional maps. This town plan stands as a testament to Tallis's unique cartographic style, which elegantly combines function and art, making it a significant contribution to the world of 19th-century cartography.
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).