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The “Time & Tide” Map of the Atlantic Charter

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  • Stock Code: 23197

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  • Author: GILL, (Leslie) MacDonald (artist)
  • Publisher: Time & Tide Magazine - London Geographical Institute (George Philip & Son Ltd) (publishers)
  • Date: [1942] 1943
  • Dimensions: Map size: 109 x 75.5 cms (with printed banner title header above)


MacDonald Gill’s spectacular 1942 “Time & Tide” map of the Atlantic Charter published by London publishers George Philip & Son Ltd

About this piece:

The “Time & Tide” Map of the Atlantic Charter

Bright & fresh printed colours. Traces of original vertical and horizontal folds. Old splits & minor separations at fold junctures with cosmetic repairs and reinforcements. The map now entirely laid down on museum-quality linen backing for better preservation & conservation.

MacDonald Gill’s “Time and Tide” map of the Atlantic Charter, had originally been a design commissioned by Time and Tide Magazine in 1941 to commemorate the Anglo-American endorsement of the terms of the so-called Atlantic Charter, which had resulted from the meeting of British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and American President, Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Atlantic Conference in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland in August 1941.

The map is signed by Gill & dated 1942 and was first published early that year by the Geographical Institute, part of the well-known London map publishing firm of George Philip & Son Ltd. This example has an additional copyright imprint dated 1943 in the lower left.

The aim of the Atlantic Charter was to establish the ideals and principles of the post-war peace after the final defeat of Fascism. The meeting took place just four months before America’s entry into the war as Britain’s ally, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941.

The terms of the Atlantic Charter were further endorsed by 26 international governments in the Declaration of the United Nations in January 1942 published during the Arcadia Conference. The Charter of the United Nations proper, which laid the foundations of the United Nations organisation, emerged at the end of the War, when it was signed by fifty one signatory governments in San Francisco in June 1945, and came into force four months later in October 1945, after ratification by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and a majority of the other original signatories.

Gill’s design incorporates into the main text panel the eight principal objectives of the Atlantic Charter, as originally agreed by Churchill and Roosevelt at their August 1941 meeting.

These read as follows:

First, their countries seek no aggrandizement, territorial or other;

Second, they desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned;

Third, they respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live; and they wish to see sovereign rights and self government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them;

Fourth, they will endeavour, with due respect for their existing obligations, to further the enjoyment by all States, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access, on equal terms, to the trade and to the raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity;

Fifth, they desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing, for all, improved labour standards, economic advancement and social security;

Sixth, after the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all the men in all lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want;

Seventh, such a peace should enable all men to traverse the high seas and oceans without hindrance;

Eighth, they believe that all of the nations of the world, for realistic as well as spiritual reasons must come to the abandonment of the use of force. Since no future peace can be maintained if land, sea or air armaments continue to be employed by nations which threaten, or may threaten, aggression outside of their frontiers, they believe, pending the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential. They will likewise aid and encourage all other practicable measure which will lighten for peace-loving peoples the crushing burden of armaments.

With some artistic licence (given that there was in fact no signed Charter document) Gill incorporates the facsimile signatures of Roosevelt & Churchill and the date 1941.

And below these, with suitable decorative flourish, Gill incorporates a vibrant golden sunburst, an oft-repeated feature of his many map designs, here redolent with the sense of future anticipation & optimism, throwing out its symbolically warm & enlightening rays across the entire World.

A further roundel seal on the right is inscribed as follows:

The President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister Mr Churchill, representing His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, being met together, deem it right to make known certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future for the world, 14 August 1941

The detailed pictorial Mercator-projection map of the World, with a symbolic key identifying the principal agricultural products and industrial minerals in every region. As Gill himself noted in his December 1944 article on Decorative Maps published in The Studio: “here are indicated the chief products of each country for the furtherance of a sane economic and international policy for mankind.” Short banner quotes relating to war and peace from Aristotle, Cicero, Pope and Emerson further adorn the map, whilst a most striking modern portrayal of the prophet Isaiah’s Old Testament vision of a World “where swords will be turned into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks” fills the lower left corner. Modern weapons of mass destruction, tanks and heavy artillery guns fall under the assault of a hammer-wielding workman, whilst the background scene reveals idyllic rural vistas of ploughing and harvesting.

Examples of both of Gill’s 1942 Atlantic Charter map and the derivative 1948 United Nations map are uncommon, certainly in comparison to other maps and posters produced by Gill during these 1940’s wartime & post-war years. An American edition of the Atlantic Charter map was produced & exclusively distributed by Dennoyer-Geppert Company of Chicago. Such an example is preserved in the David Rumsey Collection.

Refs: David Rumsey Collection; Cornell University Library Digital Collections – Persuasive Cartography – P J Mode Collection; Decorative Maps by MacDonald Gill, F.R.I.B.A, F.R.G.S., N.R.D. (The Studio, Vol CXXVIII, No.621, Dec 1944, ill p.165 & p.168