It all began with the map!

It all began with the map!

Robert Louis Stevenson got the idea for the novel Treasure Island when he saw an imaginary map of a romantic island that his stepson Lloyd Osbourne had drawn during a vacation in Braemar, Scotland in the summer of 1881.

Osbourne later recounted:

“… busy with a box of paints I happened to be tinting a map of an island I had drawn. Stevenson came in as I was finishing it, and with his affectionate interest in everything I was doing, leaned over my shoulder, and was soon elaborating the map and naming it. I shall never forget the thrill of Skeleton Island, Spyglass Hill, nor the heart-stirring climax of the three red crosses! And the greater climax still when he wrote down the words “Treasure Island” at the top right-hand corner! And he seemed to know so much about it too – the pirates, the buried treasure, the man who had been marooned on the island … . “Oh, for a story about it”, I exclaimed, in a heaven of enchantment …”

The first map was unfortunately lost when Stevenson sent it to his publisher, so he had to recreate the map from scratch. Even though he had the opportunity to match the map with the story, he was never as satisfied with the copy as he was with the original.

Frank Jacobs has written about this on his fascinating blog, Strange Maps

Speaking of Frank Jacobs, he is actually the one quoted on our website's footer:

"Often, when I read a book, I think: Okay, good, but where is the map?"

I saw him in an interview on the show Kobra. I don't remember exactly what he said, but it was very similar, in any case :)


Image: Wikipedia Creative Commons,


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