Catalog Archive
Auction 176, Lot 29

Rare Mnemonic Teaching Globe with Superimposed Human Face

"[7.6" Folding Globe] Stokes's Capital Mnemonical Globe",

Subject: Globes

Period: 1868 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

6 x 11.8 inches
15.2 x 30 cm
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This rare folding globe was intended to teach "the relative positions of the principal geographical places in the world [...] in a few hours." The globe was created by William Stokes, a self-professed "teacher of memory" who created memory-aiding devices and instructional guides and taught his methodologies throughout England, including at Cambridge and Oxford Universities. This mnemonic device features an image of a human face superimposed on parts of the Atlantic Ocean and Africa, with the Greenwich Meridian running through the middle of the face. The theory is that one could relate various parts of the face to locations on the globe to help remember the place names, and Stokes published a booklet to accompany the globe with specific examples. The ears of the face reach as far west as Central and South America and as far east as mainland Southeast Asia, so one must wonder how the device would help students remember locations in North America, East Asia or Australia. The globe consists of 8 engraved card gores mounted on canvas, each measuring approximately 3" x 11.8", with brass grommets at the tips of each gore and string attaching the gores together. The original accompanying booklet is not included in this lot. Engraved and printed by Emslie & Sons and published by Houlston & Wright.

References: Hill, Cartographical Curiosities, p. 19.

Condition: B+

Contemporary hand color with very light soiling and wear. The strings are likely modern. An excellent example of this rare teaching tool.

Estimate: $1,900 - $2,300

Sold for: $3,000

Closed on 2/12/2020