Annah Legg of Girl and Bird loves the romance of vintage maps
“I’ve always been interested in collecting old objects, from postcards to fabric to cameras. I remember spending hours looking at old atlases as a child, and being charmed by the strange place names and the romance of unknown lands.
At university I accumulated quite a few maps from charity shops and hung one of my hometown on the wall — it always comforted me if I felt a bit homesick.Then last year, I was given a bundle of maps from the 1940s and 50s that belonged to my grandparents, complete with scribbles in the margins from long ago trips. I realised how gorgeous they were as objects — the colours are so saturated yet delicate, and the texture of the creases gives them character. They sat in a box for a while before I had the idea of printing them onto fabric, channelling their beauty into usable products.
“Maps look best displayed, so I recommend collecting a few special locations and layering them up on a wall.”
My collection is constantly changing as I’m always sourcing specific maps for custom orders, but at the last count there were over 250, all now out of copyright.They’re stored in a few beautiful vintage wooden boxes so I can easily find whichever one I’m looking for. I recently bought a huge map of Cape Town for a passport holder, and found a beautiful print of Europe from 1926 at a flea market in Lisbon. One of the most interesting things about them is that the borders and place names change over time.
Maps look best displayed, so I recommend collecting a few special locations and layering them up on a wall. Washi tape is good for displaying them without causing damage. Use already torn maps to wrap presents. I prefer buying face to face as you can clearly see the quality.”
Find Annah’s collection of map makes in the Mollie Makes Shop.