art

These Richly Detailed Maps Give the Modern World a Victorian Twist

By Alissa Walker on at

Wouldn't we all love to live in a city where floating dirigibles shared the horizon alongside the glass towers of our modern skylines? Such is the wild world featured in the highly complex, geographically accurate illustrations of Icelandic artist Kristjana S. Williams, whose maps are part of an exhibition for the London Design Festival, running until October 9.

Williams is inspired by traditional Victorian engraved maps, the part art, part information visuals that came to represent early cartography. These depictions of exotic flora and fauna plotted on unfinished (and yet-to-be-explored) land masses represented European residents' first visual introductions to many far-flung locations.

These Richly Detailed Maps Give the Modern World a Victorian Twist

What's striking about Williams's maps is that although they feel more than a century old, they're actually contemporary. So in addition to fanciful drawings of wildlife, you'll also spy engineering marvels like the London Eye embedded into her illustrations. All her prints are collected in her online store, where you can also buy beautiful pillows and even scarves featuring her work.

These Richly Detailed Maps Give the Modern World a Victorian Twist

Or if you'd prefer to see her new works in the flesh—and alongside some actual Victorian maps for context—Williams's show at The Map House in London is on until October 9. [Kristjana S. Williams, The Map House]