Despite the challenges of Covid, the State Library has continued its quest to bring more of its collections into public view with the opening of the new Map Rooms next month.
Two heritage rooms in the Library’s original Mitchell wing have been transformed and will house a selection of extraordinary maps - representing five centuries - from the Library’s map collection, considered among the largest in Australia.
Highlights include an extremely rare map by Albrecht Dürer depicting the world as a sphere (1515), a magnificent chart of the world printed on vellum (1633), and the recently acquired silver punchbowl in the shape of a globe commissioned by botanist Sir Joseph Banks in 1772.
The first item to be installed was Edouard Nuel’s 1911 recreation of Nicholas-Andree Monsiau’s historic painting depicting Louis XVI giving final instructions to the Comte de La Pérouse. Measuring 218 x 274 cms, the painting has been stored offsite while the Library found a location big enough to display it.
The Map Rooms, due to open in February 2021, have been made possible by the Library Foundation, thanks to the generosity of private donors.