Map size in jpg-format: 5.21887MiB
The First Atlas Printed In India.
Rare early school atlas, lithographically printed in Calcutta by pioneer mapmaker Jean-Baptiste Tassin.
The School Atlas was likely created in part due to the demand for educational material created by the General Committee of Public Instruction. According to clause 43 of the Charter Act of 1813, the British East India Company had partly undertaken the responsibility of education in India and a sum of one lakh of rupees had been earmarked for the purpose. In 1823, an official agency (the GCPI) was created to deal with educational matters. A state system of education was begun almost simultaneously in all the three Presidencies by about 1823 and continued to expand until 1833. The educational grant of India was also increased from one lakh to ten lakhs of rupees per annum.
By 1841, a set of recommendations was made for a comprehensive curriculum for Bengali Vernacular Education, which included a geography text titled Bhogole Sutra, and elementary work on astronomy "a complete copy of School Atlas," and "a pair of Globes." By 1836, the Calcutta School Book Society (founded in 1817) was supplying and published a school atlas, beginning with JB Tassin's atlas published in Calcutta and beginning in 1843, the "Cabinet Family Atlas, published in the United States" (likely a confusion of the title of the Family Cabinet Atlas, first published by Carey & Lea in 1834).
In addition to being the first atlas published in India, it seems that the atlas was well circulated in Britain's Asian colonies. As noted below, by 1837, Tassin's School Atlas was being used in Singapore. While there are very few printed references to the School Atlas, they tend to be interesting ones. For example, in the Singapore Institution Free School Fourth Annual Report, 1837-38, on page 25, there is a note:
Donations of Books and Other Articles. 1837-38
Committee of Public Instruction, Calcutta
. . . 9 copies Tassin's School Atlas
The present example appears to have a title printed on Fabric pasted to the outside of the front board, with a price of 3 Rupees noted at the bottom right corner.
A rare survival, this seems to have been a well-distributed educational tool in the easternmost parts of the British Empire.
OCLC locates 3 copies, all in German Libraries, curiously all in the Eastern part of Germany (Berlin, Jena, and Halle).
Provenance: Forum Auctions: Lot 120, October 8, 2020 (2,740 GBP).
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