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Large historical pictorial wall map of Australia, one of the most decorative and magnificent pictorial maps of the 20th century. The map shows divisions between provinces, generously decorated with pictorial illustrations such as kangaroos, aborigines, trains, explorers, cattle, ships, fish, and mythical ocean creatures. The side and lower border consists of various views and illustrations of Australia’s colonial history, including the ships of seventeenth century Dutch explorers. In the top center a cartouche formed by a pair of seahorses encircles an image of Captain James Cook’s arrival and his claiming Australia in the name of Great Britain in August of 1770. It is flanked on either side by a border of large-masted ships upon a long horizon. An inner border of intertwined fishes surrounds the map of Australia. The main cartouche in the lower right incorporates the seal of Australia, surmounted by a building with the notation Canberra, May 1927 (presumably where the map was designed); beneath it is the artist’s name.
Margaret Whiting Spilhaus was a South African author of several historical books concerned with the Age of Exploration and colonial history and produced a series of pictorial maps of continents. Apparently she began her literary career writing and illustrating books for young children such as South African Nursery Rhymes (1924) and The Limber Elf (1926). She also published a craft book with designs for a cardboard dollhouse and furniture. Later titles include The Background of Geography (1935), First South Africans and the Laws Which Governed Them (1949), South Africa in the Making: 1652-1806 (1966), Pacific adventure: The story of the pilot Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, and the natural history book Indigenous Trees of the Cape Peninsula (1950) containing photographs by Dennis Wright of her collection of specimens. Her pictorial maps include Australia (c. 1927), Africa, North America (c. 1930), South America (c. 1933) and Pan Africa (c. 1943). Spilhaus’s papers are in the Manuscripts and Archives of the University of Cape Town Libraries.
"Author names starting with Sp." New General Catalog of Old Books and Authors. January 2010. http://www.kingkong.demon.co.uk/ngcoba/sp.htm (28 January 2010).
"Spilhaus Family Papers." Manuscripts & Archives, University of Cape Town Libraries. http://www.lib.uct.ac.za/mss/index.php?html=/mss/newaids/BC319.HTM&libid=41 (28 January 2010).