William Smith’s Geological Maps


Richly illustrated with highly detailed geological maps and cross-sections, tables of strata, contemporary illustrations and photographed fossil samples, this definitive and accessible reference showcases the revolutionary work of William Smith, son of a blacksmith and ‘father of English geology’


ISBN: 9780500252475 Category:


This sumptuous and comprehensive evaluation showcases Smith’s 1815 hand-coloured map, A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales, with part of Scotland, and illustrates the story of his career, from apprentice to fossil collector and from his 1799 geological map of Bath and table of strata to his detailed stratigraphical county maps.

The introduction places Smith’s work in the context of earlier, concurrent and subsequent ideas regarding the structure and natural processes of the earth. The book is then organized into four geographical sections, each beginning with four sheets from the 1815 strata map, accompanied by related geological cross sections and county maps (1819-24), and is followed by displays of Sowerby’s fossil illustrations (1816-19) organized by strata. Interleaved between the sections are essays by leading academics that explore the aims of Smith’s work, its application in the fields of mining, agriculture, cartography, fossil collecting and hydrology, and its influence on biostratigraphical theories and the science of geology. Concluding the volume are reflections on Smith’s later work as an itinerant geologist and surveyor, plagiarism by his rival – President of the Geological Society, George Bellas Greenough – receipt of the first Wollaston Medal in 1831 in recognition of his achievements, and the influence of his geological mapping and biostratigraphical theories on the sciences, culminating in the establishment of the modern geological timescale.

Additional information

Weight 2122 g
Dimensions 27.5 x 37.3 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 1 November 2020
Number of pages 256
Format Hardback
Contributors Foreword by Robert Macfarlane, Edited by Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Dimensions 27.5 x 37.3 cm
Weight 2122 g


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Oxford University Museum of Natural History Museum holds an unrivalled William Smith collection, including not only his 1815 map and unpublished county maps but also his vast archive of diaries, letters, published works, charts and plans.