In 1836, John Kirkwood advertised these globes: “To meet the existing demand for cheap Education, J.K. has now ready, six-inch globes, of superior construction, and only £2 2s. per pair.” A guide to the use of Kirkwood’s globes was advertised for the price of 1 shilling. The cartouche is very similar to that of a 12-inch globe published in the 1830s in Edinburgh by John’s brother, Robert Kirkwood. Both men had worked with their father James in his Edinburgh globe business until it burned down in 1824. In 1826, James and John emigrated to Dublin, Ireland, to start over, and Robert opened his own firm in Edinburgh in 1828.
The globe has a lot of cartographic detail considering its size, including such notations as the locations of native tribes in North America and Africa and discoveries of explorers including Cook, Busbe and De La Perouse. The outline of the United States reflects that nation’s borders before the Mexican War and before the boundary was settled between the Oregon Territory and British Columbia — both of which occurred in the 1840s. Antarctica is largely unmapped, with only a few fragments of coastline, including Enderby’s Land, discovered in 1831, which helps date this globe to after that year. However, Michigan, which became a state in 1837, is not labeled, possibly dating the cartography to before that time.
Kirkwood & Son was a globe making firm in Edinburgh, Scotland. Read more about them in our Guide for Globe Makers.
Kirkwood & Son was a publishing, engraving and globe manufacturing firm in Edinburgh, Scotland. Founded in 1774 by James Kirkwood, a watchmaker, their first terrestrial globe was produced in 1804 and followed by a celestial in 1806, both with cartography drawn by mathematician and astronomer Robert Scott (d. 1803). James was joined in business by his sons, Robert, a cartographer, surveyor, and engraver and John (d. 1853), an engraver who had served an apprenticeship to Charles Heath. From 1818 to 1823, Kirkwood & Son collaborated with Alexander Donaldson (act. 1799-1828), a turner and toolmaker, on revisions of the terrestrial and celestial pair. The Edinburgh workshop burned down in a disastrous fire in 1824 that destroyed all the copper plates for the globe gores.
In 1826, James and John emigrated to Dublin, Ireland, to start over. There they set up a copperplate engraving and printing firm. From 1834 it was operated by John only, who appears in an 1842 Dublin business directory as “globe manufacturer to her Majesty.” In 1836, John Kirkwood advertised a 12-inch globe and a 6-inch globe for “cheap Education” along with a printed set of directions for their use. Meanwhile, Robert Kirkwood revived the Edinburgh firm and published a new pair of terrestrial and celestial globes in 1828 and was active until around 1850. He was the leading Scottish globe maker until he was eventually surpassed by his former apprentices, the brothers William and Alexander Keith Johnston. They launched their own business after the 1824 fire as W. & A.K. Johnston and formed an association with Alexander Donaldson, engraving globes that he published in 1828 and 1830. They went on to further solidify Edinburgh’s importance as a center of globe production during the second half of the 19th century, also opening a London branch and becoming one of the foremost globe producers in Great Britain and exporters of globes to the United States.
Cartouche: KIRKWOOD’S/ NEW TERRESTRIAL GLOBE/ with the very latest/ DISCOVERIES./ Published by J. Kirkwood Crow Street Dublin.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual expected light toning and wear. Some minor scattered abrasions professionally restored. Engraved paper horizon band a bit darkened overall with some minor chipped losses (restored). Overall has a nice golden antique tone that many prefer, and is very clear and readable particularly for a globe of its age. Stand very good with the usual wear and shrinkage.
Dekker, Elly, et al. Globes at Greenwich: A Catalogue of the Globes and Armillary Spheres in the National Maritime Museum. London: Oxford University Press and the National Maritime Museum, 1999. pp. 45-46, 50, 55, 372 and 382.
Dekker, Elly and van der Krogt, Peter. Globes from the Western World. London: Zwemmer, 1993. pp. 118, 120 and 176.
“Dublin University Magazine Advertiser for November.” Dublin University Magazine. November 1836, No. 47. Dublin: William Curry, Jr. and Company. p. 53. Online at Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=iz4zAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA494 (18 July 2014).
Strickland, Walter G. Dictionary of Irish Artists. 1913. Online at Library Ireland: http://www.libraryireland.com/irishartists/john-kirkwood.php (18 July 2014).