It runs in its traditional time and place, June 10-11 at the Royal Geographical Society, but this year brings a diversity of stock, new faces and a more Contemporary edge.
Tim Bryars of Bryars & Bryars says that he and fellow organiser Massimo De Martini of Altea Gallery have encouraged the 35 or so exhibitors to expand their offerings of topographical prints, travel and propaganda posters and other material to complement the traditional selection of maps.
There are also set to be several new non-specialist map dealers: Shapero Rare Books, Manning Fine Art and Robert Hall Pictures.
Christie’s is also taking a stand for the first time.
Meanwhile, TAG Fine Arts showcases some of its Contemporary cartographic artists such as Stephen Walter and Jeremy Wood. One of its artists Adam Dant – who regularly designs the maps for London Art Week – will present this year’s map fair lecture on his work on pictorial maps.
Bryars says: “We’re rethinking how we and our customers define what a map is, building on existing trends which have already seen established map dealers paying a lot more attention to 19th and 20th century pictorial maps, propaganda, advertising and travel posters.”
Much will be familiar about the fair. The usual supply of major historic maps will be on offer and Ashley Baynton-Williams presents his regular talks on map collecting for beginners.
The fairs landscape has been troubled since the years of lockdowns, and many events have fallen by the wayside. British events have also been hit by rising costs and Brexit regulations, which makes exhibiting logistically more difficult that it once was for European dealerships.
Even so, some continental firms are returning after some time away, such as Clemens Paulsch of Berlin. Other European exhibitors include CartaHistorica of Belgium, Old Times from Italy and Pontes Maps of Spain.
Bryars said: “In some ways it’s going to be a tough fair season. You’ve seen how many of the big fairs have folded. But there’s a place – and a demand – for smaller, nippier specialist fairs. I’m delighted with all those extra firms we’ve attracted: all great dealers, and it will really mix things up a bit.”