Alfred Wainwright: his contribution to cartography and graphic design
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Alfred Wainwright: his contribution to cartography and graphic design

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Steve Chilton's presentation to the British Cartographic Society conference on 9th Sept 2006

Steve Chilton's presentation to the British Cartographic Society conference on 9th Sept 2006

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  • Gives me a chance to show a nice photo of the Lakes (looking SSW from slopes of Kirk Fell). Virtual prize to first one to shout out the name of the fine pub that you would just be able to see if the cloud suddenly lifted. And here’s one of me on …….... you are spared that one.
  • What is Wainwright noted for? Firstly, the 7 Pictorial Guides to the Lake District – containing over 3,600 illustrations, all based on his own direct observation.
  • A small selection of the output of Wainwright (and about him) Apologies for the poor image – from a publisher’s webpage.
  • More detail of the production of the maps and books follows shortly
  • Note the hand-written text, the whole page being composed by the author.
  • These next two slides illustrate just 7 of the total number of pages devoted to Fairfield in Book 1 “The Eastern Fells”.
  • But I hope you will agree that there is certainly some added value when compared to a traditional map product. Being able to recognise (and name to others) the summits in view (from the skyline drawings) is a real anorak’s delight.
  • Self-publishing: 2000 copies printed by local printer for £950 (on tick). Price 12/6, a mark-up from 9/- Advised not to give his name as publisher – so it was listed as Henry Marshall (Kendal Librarian) They filled Marshall’s car and went round the bookshops of Windermere, Bowness and Ambleside trying to sell them. Sent complimentary copy to the Director General of the OS. Eventually taken on board by Westmorland Gazette in 1963 – still a very local concern, until published by Michael Joseph in 1984, and from 2003 by Francis Lincoln
  • …… the Guide is planned to include all the fells in the area enclosed …… an undertaking quite beyond the compass of a single volume, and it is necessary, therefore to divide the area into convenient sections, making the fullest use of natural boundaries …… From Book 1
  • Traditional pen and ink drafting was used throughout (with mapping pen and indian ink), with his own photos as sources, complemented by a set of 1901 OS six inch to the mile maps. Some of the originals in Kendal Museum clearly show thin pencil guides for placing illustrations, creating appropriate margins, and for aligning items on the page.
  • The figures are the work of Ken Garland, who concluded that: “… at the foot it is virtually a map, with the paths, walls and other features laid out as though we were looking down at them from directly above; but as the path ascends the viewpoint changes, becoming progressively more oblique, until by the time we are looking at the summit it has become the outline we observe on the ground at the beginning of the climb.” From a paper given at the BCS 1996 It should be noted that Wainwright somehow successfully transmuted the contours from the plan to the view in such a way that they still held true, which he claimed presented him with the most demanding challenge.
  • Wainwright admitted that the first 6 months work went in the bin. He rejected his own first 90 pages because he had failed to right justify the text. Technique: Sheet of paper over artwork. Wrote out the next line of text on the overlay page, trying to make it fit. If too short or long all that was needed was to expand or contract the character widths and spaces between words when writing again on the actual page. If too difficult to adjust this way then the words were changed and the whole process repeated.
  • Remember for the Pictorial Guides the information is anything from 40 to 54 years out of date now. Francis Lincoln, and previously Michael Joseph, have published A Pennine Journey, a manuscript that he completed in 1938, which he mentioned in his memoirs as something he wrote “for himself”. In it he says “I can imagine only one pursuit more fascinating than map-reading, and that is map-making”. Remember this was written well before he even thought of producing his guides. First editions of Beatrix Potter’s are known to go for £15,000
  • Imagine you are standing by the Mountain Rescue box at Sty Head, and you are deciding where to go next. Clockwise it could be: Down the valley to Wasdale Head Along the Gable traverse Great Gable direct Past Sty Head Tarn to Borrowdale Past Sprinkling Tarn to Esk Hause, on to Langdale Up Great End Find the corridor route to Scafell Pike (via the other Mountain Rescue box)
  • The corridor starts from the path to Esk Hause and crosses the ruins of a wall below a crag. The short cut leads to it exactly.
  • I wont give any more publicity to this example of hand-drawn cartography, that is from a company’s website that specialises in this kind of work.
  • Raw’s brief was to keep the original ‘feel’ of the map while being sure of legibility, when reproduced at the size of a paperback.” Now sold as limited edition set of three for $1,000
  • Some may remember the unique cartography that Tim Robinson produced. Robinson stated that “making a map was to be a one-to-one encounter between a person and a landscape, a commitment unlimitable in terms of time and effort, an existential project of knowing a place; the map itself could hardly then be more than an interim report on the process of its own making”. Not a statement that many cartographers would make about their work.
  • Excellent maps and sketches, unfortunately I don’t have any in my collection to illustrate this, nor could I find any on the web. The Fellranger series in fact follows Wainwright’s division into the 7 books. In a review of walkers guides in 1993 Ken Garland noted that Richards is inconsistent, with frequent switches of orientation, and that he had a tendency to write long descriptions to the detriment of map and illustrative material.
  • Map and lettering all done with a calligraphy pen on parchment. Produced a few years ago when a young teenager.
  • Again done with a calligraphy pen on parchment Liam is a potential autograph book producer as he often produces booklets of his ideas and stories. Produced before his teens.
  • Type and Typography – “variety of approaches to some typographic problems. Some have been chosen to illustrate good practice, others show innovative solutions”. P124, Baines and Haslam Along with Beck’s London Underground map Plague Dogs was set in the Lakes, and his drawings and maps were a marvellous addition to the book. Autograph books are those written in the author’s own handwriting. William Blake, Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll also produced them - often for their own families. In 1983 he sold the copyright of all his work to the Westmorland Gazette for £40,000, which he immediately gave to Animal Rescue to help fund a property for their work. In 1978 his bill at the Border Hotel was £400, and ran to an estimated £15,000 in his lifetime. After his death the publishers picked up the tab, but don’t be disappointed if that has finished.
  • Wainwrights – the 214 mountains and tops listed in the Guides by Wainwright Munros - mountains in Scotland which are over 3,000 feet Corbetts - mountains in Scotland which are between 2,500 feet and 3,000 feet, and which have a re-ascent of 500 feet on all sides Bob Graham Round - a challenge that involves climbing 42 peaks in 24 hours, starting and finishing at Keswick and giving a total distance of 72 miles.
  • Wainwright died 15 years ago and had a lifelong ban on any alterations. Jesty almost as eccentric as Wainwright. 62 year old took 2 years to check and revise the first volume, often setting out at 2am. Initially he corrected the copperplates. For second volume pages were scanned and a new typeface used for amendments, designed by Judith Escreet, Frances Lincoln’s in-house art director. It is so similar to AW’s original writing it takes an eagle eye to tell the difference. Now has routes over-printed in red.
  • Worth noting what a “heavyweight” his biographer is. I particularly like the fact that he has Eddie Stobart in his oevre.
  • Two years ago I visited Innominate Tarn in a kind of pilgrimage. You couldn’t see Pillar and Gable that day either.
  • My pilgrimage finished in Buttermere, where the view of Haystacks from the church is certainly a magnificent one. BTW there is a glorious home made ice cream farm just down the road. And so I would like to finish on that note, giving thanks for their help to his publisher, his estate, the Margaret Duff collection, and to the staff of Kendal Museum.

Alfred Wainwright: his contribution to cartography and graphic design Alfred Wainwright: his contribution to cartography and graphic design Presentation Transcript

  • Alfred Wainwright: his contribution to cartography, graphic design and publishing Steve Chilton Learning & Technical Support Unit Manager Middlesex University [Chair of the Society of Cartographers]
  • Wasdale appears through the clouds ……..
  • Wainwright’s guide to Lakes The cover of Book 1
  • Published output His biography lists 59 publications by him, including many books of sketches of both the Lakes and of Scotland
  • Example of map from guide Ascent of Helvellyn from the west
  • Example of page layout Ascent of Helvellyn from Grasmere
  • Layout of chapter - Fairfield Chapter title Natural features Ascent
  • Layout of Fairfield chapter (cont) Summit detail Summit routes View from summit Descents
  • Method of publishing
    • Layout of end pieces – the credits
    • Self-published, then by the Westmorland Gazette
    Dedication Frontispiece Publisher “ Feared printers would misspell his work”
  • Geographical division of the Lakes
    • Radial diagram of Lakes – gives natural breakdown of layout of books
    Book 1
  • Method of producing maps
    • Wainwright’s tools
    At work
  • Corrections
    • Use of snopake, with over-drawing
    • Photo of glass fronted original from Kendal Museum
  • Method of Portraying
    • Transition from map to perspective in one diagram
    Bird’s eye view Wainwright’s hybrid view
  • Layout on page
    • Detail of map, text, marginalia
    • Start of Scafell from Seatoller
  • Do they stand the test of time?
    • Re-published by Francis Lincoln in 2003
    First Editions can go for up to £361 (1 st editions of Harry Potter books are going for £500+)
  • Is it good to use in field?
    • Comparison with Harveys, OS of same route (eg Corridor route to Scafell Pike – re-scaled for comparison)
    Harveys (published at 1:40,00) Wainwright (Published at 1:25,000 approx) OS (Published at 1:25,000)
  • Is it good to use in field?
    • Better still use the pictorial view (again the Corridor route to Scafell Pike)
    • This is arranged so you follow it (so no map rotation), and it has some excellent supplementary route-finding information.
  • Other examples of hand-drawn maps
    • “ ORIGINAL HAND DRAWN MAPS We have always drawn these unique, original maps for our own websites, and for our clients' sites.”
    • Publicity blurb
  • Stephen Raw
    • “… was commissioned by HarperCollins to redraw the ‘Part of the Shire’ map for the newly edited publication of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings .”
    • Info from www.tolkienmaps.com
  • Tim Robinson
    • The Twelve Bens of Connemara, Folding Landscapes
    Not hand-lettered, but highly intricate and surveyed in great detail
  • Mark Richards
    • “ Traditional pen and ink sketches and hand drawn maps are included. Mark Richards was one of Wainwright's prot é g é s and with Fellranger books he proves he is a worthy successor.” Collins’ publicity burb
  • Martyn Chilton
    • Inspired by reading Tolkien
    Section of map showing same area as the Raw map
  • Liam Chilton
    • Inspired by seeing his brother do it
    Fictional map to go with story that he was writing
  • Who was Alfred Wainwright?
    • 1907 - born in Blackburn, son of a stonemason, brought up in very poor circumstances
    • 1930 - left school at 13 to work as office boy in Blackburn Borough Engineer's Dept
    • 1938 - co-founder of Blackburn Rovers FC Supporters Club
    • 1941 - appointed to position in the Borough Treasurers Office in Kendal
    • 1948 to1967 – Kendal Borough Treasurer
    • 1952 to 1966 - devised, wrote, designed and illustrated his Guides to Lakes
    • 1968 - published Pennine Way Companion
    • 1972 - devised the Coast to Coast Walk
    • 1974-79 – produced 6 vols of Scottish Mountain Drawings
    • 1985-90 – recorded series of BBC programmes
    Biographical Details
  • Wainwright Trivia
    • He is used as example in classic textbook on graphic design - Type and Typography
    • He illustrated Richard Adams’ Plague Dogs, and several other books
    • One of a small band of “autograph book” producers (cf Blake, Carroll, Lear)
    • All profits to Animal Rescue Cumbria
    • Free pint on him at Border Hotel, Kirk Yetholm on completing the Pennine Way
  • His legacy
    • Guidebooks still in print – over 50 years after the first one was produced
    • Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk – 190 miles from St Bees to Robin Hoods Bay (cf Sustrans C2C)
    • 214 Wainwrights (cf Munros, Corbetts)
    • Wainwright Memorial Walk
      • In 1930 he devised a walking tour in the English Lake District. For almost 60 years it was one of Lakeland's best kept secrets, yet in its 102 miles and almost 35,000 feet of ascent, it visits every major summit, valley and lake (cf Bob Graham Round).
  • Guides updated "The routes of paths have changed, lots of walls have fallen down and when Wainwright was travelling to the fells he used public transport so car parks weren't important to him," said Mr Jesty, a former taxi driver who trained in cartography with Ordnance Survey.
  • His biography
    • By leading author Hunter Davies
    • Other books by Davies include ones on:
      • The Beatles
      • William Wordsworth
      • George Stephenson
      • Beatrix Potter
      • Tottenham Hotspur
      • Eddie Stobart
  • His resting place
    • “ That day will come when there is nothing left but memories. And afterwards, a last long resting place by the side of Innominate Tarn , on Haystacks, where the water gently laps the gravelly shore and the heather blooms and Pillar and Gable keep unfailing watch. A quiet place, a lonely place. I shall go to it, for the last time, and be carried: someone who knew me in life will take me and empty me out of a little box and leave me alone.
    And if you, dear reader, should get a bit of grit in your boot as you are crossing Haystacks in the years to come, please treat it with respect. It may be me.” Memoirs of a Fellwanderer, 1993
  • Sources used
    • Baines, P., 2002, Type and Typography , London: Laurence King Publishing
    • Davies, H., 1998, Wainwright - The Biography , London: Penguin Books
    • Davies, H., 1987, A Walk Around the Lakes, Arrow Publications
    • Garland, K., 1991, Lead, kindly light: the design and production of illustrated walkers’ guides , Information Design Journal, 7 (1), 47-66
    • Garland K., 1996, Passionate physiographer: the design and execution of Alfred Wainwright’s Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells , Proceedings of the BCS Conference, 45-53
    • Garland, K., 2002, Autograph books , Baseline 39, 29-36
    • Noble., C, 2001, A man who was passionate about maps : Alfred Wainwright 1907-1991 , Sheetlines 62: 61-63
    • Wainwright. A, 1955-1966, The Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells Vol 1-7, Kendal: Westmorland Gazette (now published by Francis Lincoln)
    • Wainwright. A, 1986, A Pennine Journey , Michael Joseph.
  • RIP Alfred Wainwright
    • Haystacks from Buttermere Church
    Acknowledgements for this presentation: Francis Lincoln – for permission to use limited material from the books The estate of Alfred Wainwright – for permission to use images The Margaret Duff collection – for permission to use the photo of Wainwright at work Kendal Museum – to Morag Clement for tracing materials via the museum
  • “I saw the view and it changed my life”