How to decorate with antique maps and globes

A realm of curiosities and intrigue, antique maps and globes are a hot topic this summer

Maps are integral to our heritage. Their ancient paths and roads create such nostalgia in our minds that's it's hardly surprising they have become such a recurring theme in interior design. With antique map fairs surging in popularity and the high street awash with map-print accessories, this fascinating world of politics, curiosities and monsters is as collectable as ever. 

How were maps first created?

The distant origins of antique maps can be found in 15th-century Italy. 'The very first printed map was made in Bologna in 1477, using copper engraved plates,' reveals Philip Curtis, Director at The Map House in Knightsbridge. 'It wasn't showing contemporary knowledge - it was recovering ancient knowledge that was already known to the Greeks and Romans.' 

And it's not difficult to introduce this wealth of ancient knowledge into your own home either. With these seven easy ways to combine old maps and globes with your existing decor, you'll easily find yourself amid a collage of travel, history and adventure. 

1. The stark contrast between fresh, floral blooms and worn antique maps adds a nostalgic touch

Replogle illuminating globe 1948, £695; Gall & Inglis folding map of London map, £300, The Map House. Vintage folding table, £175, Scaramanga. Compass from a draughtsmen set, £55, Junktion Antiques. Green globular Wedgwood vase c1970, £175, Robinson Antiques at Alfies Antiques Market. Mdina teardrop paperweight [top right], £10; small coloured Italian vase c1950 [bottom right], £7, All The Pretty Things. You Are Here cartography notebook, £14.95; linen notebook, £14.95, Wild & Wolf

2. Serve summer drinks from a plain wood bar with a vintage stemmed globe, boat-themed glassware and map-printed napkins

German terrestrial globe 1925, £350, Luke Honey. Ship tumblers, £5.99 each, Soozy Lemon. 1950s jug, £14.99, Viva Viva Vintage. Swirl glass, £18 for six, The Vintage Coup. Cocktail shaker, £24.95, Wild & Wolf. Personalised napkins, £44.95 for four, The Letter Room. Tumblers (just seen on left), £5.99, Viva Viva Vintage

3. Play with scale on a dividing wall and add height with a family of globes along a high shelf for impact. Or cluster smaller and less rare pieces on a coffee table for a display that you can pick up and hold

Mural wallpaper Vintage Maps collection, from £60 per sqm, Surface View. ‘Edward’ sofa, £1,866.75, Darlings of Chelsea. On sofa: (from left to right) Geometric throw, £60, Scaramanga. Twist print cushion, £45; chevron silk cushion, £60; textured cotton lime throw, £80, all Nitin Goyal. Fire cushion, £66, Zuzunuga. Kite silk cushion, £60; small chevron print silk cushion, £60; throw as before in blush, all Nitin Goyal. Truck coffee table, £1,200, Elemental. On coffee table: Philips & Son globe, 1966, £190; Torica globe, £950, The Map House. The Paramount Geographic Ltd globe c1965, £390, Luke Honey. Ship in bottle, £70, David Bond. 1950s jug, £14.99; 1950s tumblers, £5.99 each, all Viva Viva Vintage. New World atlas, stylist’s own. ‘Peggy’ armchair in dusty rose velvet, £570, Cushion on chair; ‘Rubik’ silk print, £45, both Nitin Goyal. Globes book, £30, British Library. Notebooks from £8.50 each, Scaramanga. Next to chair: John Cary globe c1810, £9,500, The Map House. Map chest, £680, Andrew Bewick Antiques. On map chest; Philips globe, £595, Travers Antiques at Alfies Antiques Market. Oxtant (just seen on map chest), £500, David Bond Antiques. Type 1228 floor lamp, £230, Anglepoise. Large framed travel poster by Umberto di Lazzaro 1931, £18,000, The Map House. On shelf from left: Hammond celestial globe c1950, £1,200, The Map House. Geographia globe 1963, £350, Luke Honey. Replogle illuminating globe 1948; German terrestrial globe, as before. Geographia globe 1961, £490, Luke Honey. Weber Costello Inc globe 1955, £1,450; Philip & Son globe 1967, £425, both The Map House

4. Maps can add a wealth of patterns, design and decoration to an interior. Create a casual wall covering with loosely layered maps and sea charts 

1950s maps of Europe, Great Britain, North America & Mexico, from £240 each, all Retro Maps. Sea charts, £5 each, David Bond. ‘Bluebell’ daybed in Sunshine pure velvet, £1,000,

On daybed: Pink raw silk cushion, £51, Oka. Hat, £48, sunglasses, £48, both Anthropologie. ‘Urban Collective’ green throw, £129, Lexington. Yellow kantha blanket, £70, Scaramanga. Library steps, £90, Gear Antiques.

On steps: Fan, £65, Junktion Antiques. Tumbler, £29, English Antique Glass. Fabric throw used as rug, £480, Oka. At door: artificial bamboo plant, £79; fern plant, £59; camellia bowl, £59, all Bloom. Outside: Tolix chair, £50, The French House

5. Distressed vintage furniture and an old ship's locker sit wonderfully with a mid-century map made in Holland, for a travel writer's retreat at home

Dutch map of Great Britain, 1950s, £140, Retro Maps. Vintage folding table, £175, Scaramanga. On desk from left: paperweight, £45; amber tumbler, £29, both English Antique Glass. Pencils, stylist’s own. Octant, (with box under phone), £500, David Bond. Trimphone, £34.95, Wild & Wolf. Ship in a bottle, £70; binnacle lantern, £150, both David Bond. Malachite vase, £148, Jonathan Adler. Cara dahlia flower stems, £14 each, Bloom. Notebooks from £14.95 each, Wild & Wolf. Typewriter, £145, Lassco. Enamel mug, £7.95, Wild & Wolf. Adventure card, £3.50, Katie Leamon. Type 1228 lamp, £160, Anglepoise. Oak wood letters, £45 each, The French House. Holbro telescopic measure, £234, Retrouvious. Ship’s locker c1900, £650, Alfie’s Antiques. Hammond celestial globe c1950, £1,200; Philips & Son globe, 1966, £190, The Map House. Retro swivel chair 1950s, £280, Lassco. On chair: ‘Sicily’ cushion, £120, Home Front Vintage. Bundle of sea charts, £80 for 20, David Bond. Flag decoration, £49, Lexington

6. Take inspiration from your globetrotting adventures by framing an old school chart to keep it preserved. Add a map decoupaged chest of drawers, drape the bed with sheer linen and add extra storage with a set of upcycled vintage suitcases

Framed mid-century school map, £150, The French House. ‘Tuvalu’ king bed with mattress, £2,590; ‘Orisa’ throw, £225, both Oka.

On bed: ‘Urban Collective’ duvet cover light grey, £149; grey and white pillow cases, £37, all Lexington. Lime cotton throw, as before. Cushions, £30 each, The British Library. Lightweight sheer drapes, £35 per m, marble, Sanderson. Hat, £38, Anthropologie. Drawers, £995, Bryonie Porter.

On drawers: Replogle illuminating globe; Geographia globe, as before. Turquoise and yellow decanters, from £148 each, Jonathan Adler. Green globular Wedgwood vase c1970, £175, Robinson Antiques at Alfies Antiques Market. Bow tie, £60, Home Front Vintage. Window panel in ‘Gossamer’, £100 per m, jasper white, Mark Alexander. Honeycomb rug, £950, Amy Kent.

Next to bed: Cavanagh suitcase, £70, Junktion Antiques. Weber Costello Inc globe as before. Map binoculars, £40, Madebyhandonline. Vintage upcycled suitcases, £175 each, U Old Bag. Vanity Case, £60, Junktion Antiques. Map gift bag, £2.95, The Letter Room. Bamboo plant, £79, Bloom

7. A map such as this Flemish cartographic design is a wonderful starting point for a room colour scheme featuring leafy greens, anemone pinks and summery sunflower yellows

Drawers, £995, Bryonie Porter. Abraham Ortelius Prussian map 1598, £725; Gall & Inglis folding map of London 1890, £300; black boxed folding map (just seen on right), from a selection, Philip & Son globe 1967, £425, all The Map House. St Lambert vase 1950s, £275, Louise Verber at Alfies Antiques. Small rose Wedgwood vase c1970, £175, Robinson Antiques at Alfies Antiques. Amber carafe used as vase, £59, Antique English Glass. Binoculars, £40, Junktion Antiques. Bone whale, £200, David Bond Antiques. Map SLR camera by Jennifer Collier, £140, Madebyhandonline. Mdina seahorse paperweight, as before. Brass magnifier, £25, The British Library. Luggage label, £3.50, Scaramanga

The full feature on decorating with antique maps and globes appeared in the June 2016 issue of Homes & Antiques. Back issues are still available. To purchase a copy click here

Where to shop:

Skinner & Hyde. Stoke on Trent, ST4 9LB. 0777 952 7370;

Jonathan Potter. 5 Margarets Buildings, Bath, BA1 2LP. 01225 300 573;

Rostron & Edwards. The Grove, Hope Bagot, Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 3AQ. 01584 890621;

The Map House. 54 Beauchamp Place, London, SW3 1NY. 020 7589 4325;

Altea Antique Maps and Charts. 35 St George Street, London, W1S 2FN. 020 7491 0010;

Love Maps On... 21 Seddon Hill, Warfield, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG42 2PF. 01344 427 647;

Betsy Benn. 01242 570 731;

Bryars & Bryars, 7 Cecil Court, London, WC2N 4EZ. 020 7836 1910;

In The Woodshed. 01373 452989;

The Map House, 54 Beauchamp Place, Knightsbridge, London, SW3 1NY. 020 7589 4325;

Michael Jennings Antique Maps and Prints. +33 493 65 72 52;

Tooley Adams & Co. 01491 838298;

The Old Map Man, antique maps, prints and books.

Original Railway Posters. 07584 255698;


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