John Bartholomew

John Bartholomew Junior (25 December 1831 – 29 March 1893) was a Scottish cartographer.

John Bartholomew
Cartographer and engraver
Born(1831-12-25)25 December 1831
Died29 March 1893(1893-03-29) (aged 61)


Bartholomew was born in Edinburgh. His father John Bartholomew Senior started a cartographical establishment in Edinburgh, Scotland and he was educated in the work. He was subsequently assistant to the German geographer August Petermann, until in 1856 he took up the management of his father's firm.[1] For this establishment, now known as the Edinburgh Geographical Institute, Bartholomew built up a reputation unsurpassed in Great Britain for the production of the finest cartographical work.[2]

Bartholomew was an in-house cartographer for George Philip. He is best known for the development of colour contouring (or hypsometric tints), the system of representing altitudes on a graduated colour scale, with areas of high altitude in shades of brown and areas of low altitude in shades of green. He first showcased his colour contouring system at the Paris Exhibition of 1878; although it initially met with skepticism, it went on to become standard cartographical practice.

Among his numerous publications, particularly worthy of note is the series of maps of Great Britain reduced from the Ordnance Survey to scales of ½ inch and ¾ inch to 1 mile, with relief shown by contour lines and hypsometric tints. The ½ inch series is among the finest of its kind ever produced.[2]

Upon his retirement in 1888, John Bartholomew was succeeded in the firm by his son John George, who extended the ½ inch series, and applied its principles to many other works. For the last six years of his life Bartholomew was living at 32 Royal Terrace in Edinburgh.[3][4]

Bartholomew died in London on 29 March 1893.[2] He is buried with his mother and father in Grange Cemetery in Edinburgh, in the northwest section. His wife Annie MCGregor (1836–1872), whom he greatly outlived, is also buried there.

See also


  1. Leslie Gardiner (1976). Bartholomew 150 Years. John Bartholomew & Son Ltd. ISBN 0-85152-791-4.
  2. Chisholm 1911.
  3. [ Obituary of John Bartholomew - The Scotsman, April 1893
  4. Mitchell , Anne (1993), "The People of Calton Hill", p. 83, Mercat Press, James Thin, Edinburgh, ISBN 1-873644-18-3

Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bartholomew, John" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bartholomew, John". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

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