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The Sheldon Tapestry Map of Gloucestershire The Bodleian Library acquired at auction a further part of a unique series of Tudor tapestry maps. Woven in wool and silk, the Sheldon Tapestry Map for Gloucestershire is a fine example of cartography and decorative art from the 16th century. Depicting southern Gloucestershire and parts of Wiltshire and Monmouthshire, the map is a part of the set of four famed 'Tapestry maps' dating from the 1590s. Commissioned by Ralph Sheldon for his home at Weston, Warwickshire, the series illustrates four midland counties of England: Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. The acquisition was made possible through funds made available from the independent art charity The Art Fund which provided £47,375 out of the total cost of just over £100,000, the Library's support group, the Friends of the Bodleian, and a number of private donors. The map enriches the Bodleian Library's outstanding map collection and is an important addition to the Library's existing holdings of Tudor cartography. Two of the original set, Oxfordshire and Worcestershire, are owned by the Bodleian Library, which received them in 1809 as a gift from the antiquary Richard Gough. The third tapestry illustrates Warwickshire, is part of the Warwickshire Museum's collection. The acquisition of this substantial portion of the Gloucestershire tapestry both reunites it with other small pieces owned by the Library and with its companion tapestries. The four tapestries are of major significance for cartographic history, forming a unique representation of the landscape of the midland counties at a period when modern cartography was still in its infancy. The tapestries still retain much of their original vibrant colour, and demonstrate an interest in the depiction of landscape, rivers, and towns. The late sixteenth-century Gloucestershire countryside is depicted with remarkable clarity and precision. The geographical extent of the map is from the northern suburbs of Bristol in the south-west (or bottom right corner), extending to just beyond Stroud in the north-east (top left). The Forest of Dean, the Severn Estuary and the southern Cotswolds feature prominently. Last modified 06 October 2009 by