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A Map of Narnia and the Surrounding Countries

  • Author: BAYNES, Pauline (artist) - after LEWIS, C S (author)
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd, London
  • Engraver: H L Vickery Ltd, Hackbridge, Surrey (printers)
  • Date: 1972
  • Dimensions: 51 x 76 cms


Rare pictorial map of Narnia, illustrating the work of C S Lewis, designed by Pauline Baynes as a poster for Penguin Books, 1972

About this piece:

A Map of the Land of Narnia and the Surrounding Countries

Colour-printed poster after Pauline Baynes’s original 1971 artwork. Some creasing to lower corners and minor soiling and wear in lower border but overall in remarkably fine condition.

Wonderful map poster, based on the original 1971 artwork of Pauline Baynes and published by Penguin Books in 1972 to promote its new paperback series of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia.

Baynes had derived much of her inspiration from Lewis’ own maps, notes & illustrations for the Narnia books.  Part of this map had in fact already been sketched by Lewis to accompany his manuscript of Prince Caspian in 1951. Guided by detailed notes from Lewis, Baynes then revised and refined the map for the book’s first 1951 edition, published by Geoffrey Bles Ltd, where it was featured on the book’s endpapers. Lewis’ map and his accompanying correspondence with Baynes regarding Prince Caspian are preserved in the collections of the Bodleian Library, Oxford. In a note of Jan 8th 1951 Lewis wrote to Baynes that:

My idea was that the map should be more like a medieval map than an Ordnance Survey – mountains and castles drawn – perhaps winds blowing at the corners – and a few heraldic-looking ships, whales and dolphins in the sea.’

It is clear that Baynes still kept Lewis’s original ideas in mind when this poster depicting the whole of Narnia and the surrounding countries was commissioned by Penguin exactly 20 years later and some 8 years after the author’s death.

Artist & illustrator Pauline Baynes [1922-2008] had been introduced to C.S.Lewis through her work for fellow Oxford academic & author, J.R.R.Tolkien. She subsequently illustrated all of Lewis’s works though their relationship remained cool and distant, with  the pair actually only meeting on a couple of occasions. The first occasion was in December 1949 after she had completed the illustrations for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Lewis invited her to lunch at his Oxford college with a group of eminent guests. A subsequent meeting for tea at Waterloo Station proved an equally uncomfortable encounter, supposedly eliciting the following succinct entry in Baynes’ diary: “Met C.S.Lewis. Came home. Baked rock cakes…”. She later remarked that “One doesn’t need to have liked him to admire him. He never became a friend the way Tolkien did. I just thought of it as work”. She seems to have struggled with the Christian ideology the underpinned Lewis’ work. Lewis would also cause deep offence to Baynes with a remark made to his biographer, Sayer, that he thought she could not draw lions.

The head of Aslan the Lion dominates the top corner of this poster which was the first time that Lewis’s imaginary world of Narnia had been presented in one single all-encompassing view.

In Puffin Post Vol. 6, No. 2, 1972, the map w as described in the following fashion:

A Map of Narnia – Follow the route of the Dawn Treader, see Cair Paravel and the Lone Islands. Now, for the first time, you can see Narnia and the surrounding countries on one beautiful map measuring 20 ins by 30 ins. Pauline Baynes, who illustrated all of the Narnia books, has created a really glorious poster for us which you can hang on your wall or pin on a notice board.

Following its appearance, Walter Hooper noted that “I don’t think it extravagant to say that in this map Miss Baynes proves that she can paint as well as Lewis could write.” Hooper had served briefly as Lewis’ private secretary in 1963 and following the author’s death later that year, devoted himself to perpetuating Lewis’ memory and acting as literary executor & advisor to his estate.

Like Tolkien’s Map of Middle Earth poster, also designed by Baynes and published two years earlier, this poster proved immensely popular with students of the early 1970s and did much to excite the imagination of the younger generation, offering a captivating perspective through the wardrobe door into Lewis’ imaginary world.

The map itself shows the Land of Narnia and surrounding countries, extending from the region of Calormen in the south with Tashbaan and Tisroc’s Palace, seat of Prince Rabadash to the mountainous Wild Lands of the North, far beyond Narnia & Ettinsmoor with the remote Giant’s House and Harfang, the Ruined City of the Giants at its northernmost extremes. The Narnian capital, Cair Paravel, sits on the coast at the mouth of the Great River, washed by the waters of the Great Eastern Ocean and Bight of Calormen. Offshore the tracks of the Splendour Hyaline & the Dawn Treader are outlined including the latter’s voyage, under the command of King Caspian X, to the remote Lone Islands of Felimath, Dorn and Avra.  Around the periphery of the image Baynes includes symbolic vignettes representing each of the seven books of the Chronicles of Narnia. Further small views illuminate  particular locations, events and incidents within the stories. Encircling the title cartouche lower right, Baynes brings to life the Chronicles’ innumerable characters. Satyrs, fauns and arborial hamadryads feature amongst the colourful forces of Good whilst the unsavoury, luminescent green forces of Darkness and Evil advance towards them from the lower right corner.

Pauline Diana Baynes was born in Hove, East Sussex in September 1922, though much of her early childhood was spent in India, where her father worked for the Indian Civil Service in the city of Agra. Her parents later separated and she returned to Europe with her mother and elder sister, greatly missing the exotic surroundings of her former Indian life. From the age of 15 she studied at the Farnham School of Art and later attended the Slade, then in Oxford. During the Second World War she was was seconded to the Ministry of Defence and after camouflage work at Farnham Castle, subsequently worked for the Admiralty in Bath as a map & chart maker, acquiring valuable skills that were later employed in the design & production of both Tolkien’s & Lewis’s maps. During the war she also began work as a commercial illustrator and some of her illustrations featured in the popular Lilliput magazine. An accomplished and prolific book illustrator, amongst other notable commissions were Richard Adams’ Watership Down [1973] and Grant Uden’s Dictionary of Chivalry, a superb production that contained over 600 colour illustrations in its margins which took Baynes two years to complete, and for which she was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1968. Baynes married former German POW, Fritz-Otto Gash in 1961 and the couple lived with her devoted dogs in her rambling old cottage in Dockenfield near Farnham in Surrey. Gasch died suddenly in 1988 and Baynes herself in August 2008, leaving an invaluable legacy to the world of books and literary cartography.

Examples of Baynes’ 1972 poster were originally published in large numbers, however due to their ephemeral nature & poor survival rates, they have become increasingly scarce. They are now much sought-after by C S Lewis & Narnia enthusiasts and by the growing number of collectors of 20th Century literary maps.

Refs: Abi Elphinstone Beyond the Blue Door – Routes through Narnia, in The Writer’s Map – Ed.Huw Lewis-Jones (Thames & Hudson, 2018), pp.144-151 & esp. ills pp.142-43 & p.145; Pauline Baynes Obituary (Daily Telegraph, 2008); Pauline Baynes Obituary (The Guardian, 2008); Pauline Baynes Obituary (The Independent, 2008).