Cabinet containing jigsaw maps by Unknown Artist

A cabinet with 14 drawers containing some of the earliest surviving examples of dissected or jigsaw-puzzle maps.


Mahogany cabinet with engraved & manuscript maps mounted on wood
103.5 x 48 x 29 cm
Art Fund grant:
£120,000 ( Total: £120,000; Export stopped)
Acquired in:
Cotsen Family Foundation

The maps were used to teach geography to King George III's children (among them the future George IV and William IV) by their governess, Lady Charlotte Finch (1725-1813) and are one of the first surviving educational children's toys. The puzzles include printed maps from an instructive atlas published by Palairet in Paris and the earliest dissected maps, produced by John Spilsbury in the mid-1760s. The manuscript maps were probably added by Lady Charlotte and the children: indeed, some include charming classroom mistakes.


Made for Lady Charlotte Finch, governess to the children of George III; by descent to her niece and great-niece, wife of the 2nd Earl of Ranfurly; by descent; Christie's, 2000; David Miles, Canterbury Bookshop.

Venue details

Kew Palace Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, RICHMOND Surrey TW9 3AB 020 3166 6000

Entry details

Free entry to all. NB visitors to Kew Palace must purchase a ticket to Kew Gardens.

24 Mar – 25 Sept Daily, 11am – 5pm

Free entry to all via paid entry to Kew Gardens.