A RARE and particularly well-preserved map created by the ‘father of English geology’ William Smith can be seen at Scarborough Art Gallery.

The map, which has been generously loaned to Scarborough Museums Trust by its owner, Jonathan Larwood.

Last year marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of William ‘Strata’ Smith (1769-1839), known as the ‘father of English geology’.

In 1815, Smith produced a geological map of England, Wales and Scotland.

The first attempt to visualise the earth’s layers, and using an innovative colour and shading system to represent rock layers, it is often referred to as ‘the map that changed the world’.

Smith lived in Scarborough for ten years from 1824, and was responsible for the design of the circular Rotunda, one of the world’s first purpose-built museums, which was dedicated to geology. The Rotunda is now also in the care of Scarborough Museums Trust.

Around 400 copies of Smith’s map were originally published in 1815, of which less than 10% are believed to be still in existence. The map owned by Jonathan Larwood is a travelling version and in remarkably good condition.

Simon Hedges, Scarborough Museums Trust’s Head of Curation, Exhibitions and Collections, said: “The map Jonathan is so kindly loaning us was bought by his father back in the 1950s – he was a collector of geology maps, and this was one of the first he purchased.

“We don’t know of another ‘travelling map’ still in existence – it has its original cover, section cases and journal.

“It’s in three folding parts and has benefited from being folded up as the colours are still so vivid – of all the surviving Smith maps, this one is probably in the best condition.”

William Smith’s map is at Scarborough Art Gallery to May 2020.

The gallery is open Tuesdays to Sundays (plus Bank Holiday Mondays) from 10am to 5pm.

Entry is free with an Annual Pass, which costs £3 and gives the bearer unlimited access to Scarborough Art Gallery, the Rotunda Museum and Woodend café gallery for a year.