World Island. A Fortune Map. Orthographic Series III
Harrison, Richard Edes
Date of Creation:
Centered on the “World Island”, a phrase coined by Sir Halford Mackinder in the 1920s, consisting of what we normally think of as the eastern hemisphere: Europe, Africa, and Asia. “Washed at its edges by more than seven seas, this World Island is the planet’s largest land agglomeration. Since the dawn of his day, man’s fate has been shaped on the compact mass of these three continents. It is here that this war, too, will be fought and won”.
By 1940, Americans had become so used to seeing the world mapped on the Mercator projection that any other method met with resistance, both in classrooms and living rooms. But as aviation displaced sea navigation in the twentieth century, Americans were sorely in need of maps that conveyed the new realities of distance and direction in the air age.
The most important innovator to step into this breach was actually not a cartographer at all, but an artist. Beginning in the late 1930s, Richard Edes Harrison drew a series of elegant and gripping images of a world at war, and in the process persuaded the public that aviation and war really had fundamentally disrupted the nature of geography.