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George Brannon’s Vectis Scenery

George Brannon’s Vectis Scenery
A Digital Adaptation of an 1830s Pleasure Trip to the Isle of Wight, U.K.

This cartographic journey features 42 copperplate engravings depicting scenic landscapes and buildings on the Isle of Wight (Latin: Vectis) . The engravings, the overview map and the written guide were all created and published in the 1830s-40s by longtime Wight resident George Brannon (1784-1860) in his promotional travel book Vectis Scenery. Vectis Scenery was “published annually between 1821 and 1875, and then intermittently until about 1884 upon demand” (Ken Hicks). The work was continued by his son Alfred after Brannon’s retirement in 1857.
An innovative publishing entrepeneur, Brannon also published various additional maps and tourist books of the Isle of Wight as well as individual prints of his engravings (including many that were not included in this 1840 edition). Note that the historical map used is from a later 1847 edition and chosen primarily due to its being available as a higher resolution digital image.

Each depicted view is accurately located on the map and accompanied by its creation date (either of composition or first printing), its title and by Brannon’s longer description taken from the book, which is written in a promotional style and often features quotations adapted from contemporary poetry. Brannon, being his own printer, also created eye-catching banners using varied and unusual typefaces and cursive script.  Each side links to the source page on the Internet Archive website for comparison with the original publication.

Vectis Scenery was an ambitious and complex multimedia project for its time, and thus a worthy and appropriate target for this new digital adaptation.  This digital adaptation was created in December 2016 using Knightlab‘s  free digital journalism tool StorymapJS.

Principal source: 1840 edition of Vectis Scenery shared by Brigham Young University on archive.org

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