Rare map talks at Arbuthnot Museum

An afternoon of engaging talks on James Robertson's maps will be held at Arbuthnot Museum on Monday, February 15.
An afternoon of engaging talks on James Robertson's maps will be held at Arbuthnot Museum on Monday, February 15.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Museums Service is currently showing a visually striking exhibition at Peterhead’s Arbuthnot Museum with maps created by James Robertson (1753-1829), the Shetlander who mapped Jamaica and Aberdeenshire.

To celebrate this rare map exhibition previously seen only in Shetland,an afternoon of engaging talks will take place at the Arbuthnot Museum on Monday,February 15 between 2pm and 4pm.

Distinguished speakers include professionals from Shetland Museum and Archives, the National Library of Scotland, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives, and Aberdeenshire Council Museums’ Service.

James Robertson (1753-1829) was educated at Marischal College in Aberdeen, and went to the Caribbean to make his fortune where he became an expert in land surveying, producing remarkably accurate maps of Jamaica. In 1810 he was commissioned to survey and draw a new map of Aberdeenshire and Banffshire.

The map took 12 years to complete, was full of inaccuracies, and resulted in a legal dispute which was unresolved at Robertson’s death in 1829.

This map and Robertson’s four maps of Jamaica are on loan to the exhibition from the National Library of Scotland. Also on show are many personal objects and a wonderful portrait of James Robertson, on loan from Shetland Museum and Archives. Documents pertaining to Robertson’s 1822 map of this area on loan from Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives, as is an azimuth compass from Aberdeen University Museums.

The exhibition is showing at Arbuthnot Museum until 20 February.

Alison Evison, chairperson of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education Learning and Leisure Committee, said: “We are delighted to be hosting an exhibition of such quality working with our national and regional partners I would encourage everyone to visit the exhibition.”