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Ackroyd, Peter

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New Statesman - United Kingdom | 20/11/2006

London Maps exhibited in the British Library

"In the British Library's forthcoming exhibition 'London: a life in maps', there is a gallery of shapes and perspectives, decorous and intriguing in turn, all of them creating a wholly different London", writes the London born novelist and essayist Peter Ackroyd. "The engraving of the city on a Roman medal of AD296, the first image of London ever created, is still a source of delight. It has all the wonder of first things. But then there are also maps created by the Luftwaffe to expedite the bombing of the capital. ... There is the preparatory work for the first Ordnance Survey of London in the 1790s. Each of these exhibits manifests a different sense of order and of symmetry. But the technical ambition is, in all cases, the same - to redeem the imperfect; to create order where there is, in effect, none; to organise the city on the principles of aesthetic harmony."

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