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Map of the City of Quebec with Historical Notes – Drawn by S H Maw

  • Author: MAW, Samuel Herbert
  • Publisher: Libraire Garneau, Quebec
  • Engraver: Alexander & Cable Litho Co, Toronto
  • Date: [1926]1932, but probably later, c1950?
  • Dimensions: Map: 84 x 63.5 cms / Sheet: 90 x 69 cms / Slipcase: 12.5 x 24 cms


Decorative pictorial map of Quebec [1932] by British-born Toronto architect & designer, Samuel Herbert Maw [1881-1952]

About this piece:

Sleeve Title : Carte Historique de la Cité de Quebec / Map of the City of Quebec with Historical Notes – Drawn by S. H. Maw.

Map Title: City of Quebec with Historical Notes

Folding colour-printed map, contained within original lightweight paper sleeve, the latter printed with dual title in French and English. Old folds to map. One or two minor creases and nicks to sheet edges of map. Overall a very crisp and nicely preserved example.

A striking pictorial map of the City of Quebec of considerable longevity, first conceived in 1926 and finally completed in 1932 by the renowned British-born Toronto architect and designer, Samuel Herbert Maw [1881-1952] .

In its detailed three-dimensional building-by-building perspective of the City, and with its richly embellished armorials, cartouches and decorative borders, it is very much in the mould of MacDonald Gill’s 1914 Wonderground Map of London Town, though without any of the ebullient humour and comic quips so liberally sprinkled throughout that map and much of Gill’s other cartographic works.

Maw was a close contemporary of Gill’s and may well have encountered Gill when undertaking his early training in London between 1902 & 1904 under the tutelage of British architect Edward W. Mountford [1855-1908]. Interestingly Mountford’s work during this period included the Edwardian refurbishment of the Old Bailey [1900-1907]

The map was printed by Alexander & Cable Co, Lithographers, also of Toronto.

The following extract is taken from the Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada:

MAW, Samuel Herbert (1881-1952), a brilliant delineator, etcher, architect, cartographer and designer who was first active in England, and later in Toronto, then Halifax, then Montreal and finally in Toronto. Born in Needham Market, Co. Suffolk, England on 12 September 1881 he was educated at Ackworth School, but he does not appear to have obtained a formal university education in architecture. Instead, he articled with John S. Dorden in Ipswich (in 1899-1902), and then moved to London to continue his training with Edward W. Mountford, a leading Edwardian architect in London, in 1902-04. He was employed as a draftsman with Bradshaw & Gass, Bolton (in 1904-06), and by Sir William Gelder, Hull, Engl. in 1906-10. He won the prestigious Soane Medallion from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1905, submitting a set of elaborate and meticulously rendered drawings for “A Royal Palace”. In 1909 he exhibited his work at the Royal Academy in London, showing drawings for the Lancaster Town Hall, designed by Mountford & Clapham. One of these, a delicately drawn elevation for a substantial Organ Case in a public room at the Town Hall, appeared in Building News [London], xcvii, 2 July 1909, 13, with a double-page illustrated plate signed “S.H. Maw, delt.” (A. Graves, Royal Academy Exhibitors 1905-1970, 1981, v, 192, Item 1511).

Maw then emigrated to the United States, and was briefly active in New York City in the firm of Brown & Maw before arriving in Toronto in late 1912. He joined the leading firm there, Darling & Pearson, and was immediately put to work by Frank Darling preparing elaborate watercolour perspective renderings of their commissions for the new Dominion Bank Headquarters in Toronto, and for other important projects by the firm including Trinity College, Toronto, and for the Art Gallery of Toronto. Maw also took the opportunity to collaborate with another employee in the firm, Colin Drewitt, to freelance and submit his own designs in competitions, which were always presented in breathtaking renderings from his own hand, for projects in Moose Jaw (1912) and in Ottawa (1914). He remained in Toronto until 1918, then moved to Halifax, N.S. to work as assistant to Sidney Dumaresq until 1923. While there, he published his own design proposal for a new War Memorial Library & Art Gallery (Morning Chronicle [Halifax], 8 June 1923, 3, illus. & descrip.), but his design was never realised. Later that same year he moved to Montreal and worked in the office of Philip Turner (in 1923-25) and later collaborated with him on the design of St. Phillip’s Anglican Church in Montreal West, Que.

His reputation as an architectural delineator received considerable attention in London, England in 1924 when his drawings were selected for display in the Canadian Pavilion at the British Empire Exhibition (Const., xvii, Dec. 1924, 389). In Montreal he worked for Ross & Macdonald (1926-27), likely as a designer and delineator on the project for the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. By 1929 he was back in Toronto, and after his appointment as Head of the Architectural Department of the T. Eaton Co., he served as the juror for The Ideal Home Competition, sponsored by that department store, in 1930. He issued a lengthy report on the designs submitted (Const., xxiii, April 1930, 129-31; R.A.I.C. Journal, vii, April 1930, 139, 141). He remained on staff with the Interior Decorating Bureau at Eaton’s until July 1938. During this period he collaborated on the design of the Toronto Stock Exchange, Bay Street (1937-1938), with George & Moorhouse.

In 1940 he accepted a position at McGill Univerisity, Montreal, where he gave classes in Architectural Rendering and Perspective (R.A.I.C. Journal, xvii, Nov. 1940, 204), but shortly after he moved to Ottawa to serve with the Dept. of National Defence in a civilian post during WWII. In 1946 he returned to Toronto, where he became a partner in the firm of Govan, Ferguson, Lindsay, Kaminker, Maw, Langley & Keenleyside, which specialized in the design and planning of hospitals. Virtually every perspective drawing illustrating their new hospital buildings came from the hand of Maw, who had a remarkable facility to draw in pencil, in charcoal, and in watercolour media.

Maw was also the author of a masterpiece of Canadian cartography, a bird’s-eye view of Quebec City, begun in 1926 and completed in 1932, in which he accurately rendered every single building in the Old Town and surrounding area, complete with a hand-drawn cartouche and historical notes on the significance of the buildings shown. Published by the Alexander Litho Co. Ltd. of Toronto, this map, measuring 27” x 35”, was reproduced in thousands of printed copies sold to tourists and visitors to Quebec for nearly three decades. A copy of the map can be found in National Map Collection, NAC, Ottawa. The popularity of this map led to another commission from the City of Ottawa, and Maw prepared a historical pictorial map of the Capital, unveiled at the National Gallery in Ottawa in 1944 (Evening Journal [Ottawa], 21 Oct. 1944). Maw died in Toronto on 19 August 1952

Refs: (obit. Globe & Mail [Toronto], 20 Aug. 1952, 5; Telegram [Toronto], 20 Aug. 1952, 24; R.A.I.C. Journal, xxix, Nov. 1952, 343; biog. Ross Hamilton, Prominent Men of Canada, 1931-32, 57; Royal Inst. Of British Architects, Application for Membership No. 3806, 1925; biog. M. Rosinski, Architects of Nova Scotia: A Biographical Dictionary, 1994, 248; Rosemarie L. Tovell, A New Class of Art: The Artist’s Print in Canadian Art 1877-1920, 1996, 115; inf. Mrs. Betty Brett, Toronto). A photographic portrait of Maw can be found in the R.A.I.C. Journal, xiii, Jan. 1936, 12.  

As noted, the map was reissued in considerable numbers for the local tourist market over the ensuing two or three decades following its initial appearance in 1932. It was marketed and distributed by the Libraire Garneau, one of Quebec’s finest bookshops and a well-known meeting point of local  artists and intellectuals in the inter-war years. The business was established in 1899 by Pierre Garneau as successor to bookseller Samuel Champeron at No.47 rue Buade, adjacent to the City’s Notre Dame Basilica (visible in the lower centre of the map). With its distinctive 1911 facade inscribed with the Garneau name, the shop remained a long-standing and much-loved landmark of Quebec’s Old Town before finally closing its doors for the last time in 1997.

Refs: David Rumsey Collection