If the map fits, hang it…

15 August 2012
Ben Pentreath

Well, a lot of comments on the previous post seem to be to do with my map of London… I can sort of understand why!

I can’t quite remember when I began to wonder if the Roque Map that’s been hanging in our office hallway for a few years now might just, well, exactly fit the end wall of my sitting room.  Probably on visit two, and I couldn’t quite believe my tape measure. Because I think I found  myself measuring about 15 times to see if it would fit, and slightly scratching my head each time.  Yes, I had to move a radiator; yes I had to move a couple of sockets, but I think that’s a price worth paying, don’t you?

The map is a re-print of John Roque’s ‘Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster, and Borough of Southwark’, 1746.  I bought it a few years ago from Harry Margary, from whom I had bought a few years ago the smaller scale map, the so-called ‘Exact Survey’ of London, also by Roque, that used to hang above my sofa at Great Ormond Street (and which has now moved to the office).

I think there a are a few copies of the Exact Survey still for sale, and I suggest you get your copy now, because it is a very beautiful thing. For a very long time I had dreamed of owning the Plan – but as you may have noticed it is permanently out of print.  Over the years I’d emailed with Margary’s to see if they could ever bring it back in stock.  Then, a few years ago now, I got back from a summer holiday. There was an email from them saying that had one copy which was no longer required. They had a waiting list – of which, because I had been so annoying, I was at the top.  I had 48 hours to respond. Thank goodness I didn’t stay on holiday a day longer!

So, that’s the story of the map.  Not quite a pact with the devil, but certainly a dance with luck. Nothing would bring me greater pleasure than to get this re-print back in production, and indeed we did talk to Margary’s a little while ago about doing this through the shop. The problem being we would need to print so many to make it happen, that I could wallpaper the whole of the building with maps and still have several hundred left over.  If I get the feeling from this blog that there is overwhelming demand, then we could see what we can do!

There’s Queen Square, where I’m now living. Great Ormond Street, where I have moved from, was one of the grandest streets in London – with massive townhouses with their splendid gardens leading northwards to open countryside beyond. Remarkable.  Rugby Street used to be called Chapel Street and you might just spot the chapel at the end of the road.  Lambs Conduit Street didn’t of course quite exist – but you can see Lambs Conduit Fields, and one half of the Foundling Hospital. Yes, as you can imagine, you could look at the map for hours, if not days.

A couple of other people asked about the Fornasetti chest of drawers. That’s moved to the bedroom, where it is very at home with some Piranesi prints and dark aubergine ‘brinjal’ paint from Farrow & Ball.  My bedroom corridor has gone dark red (Estruscan Red from F&B) and needs a lot more prints and pictures, and perhaps a bit of a Hone Museum installation? (Which is just getting going, as you can see).

Then I thought you might like to see the little spare bedroom which I wallpapered in William Morris Willow Bough. It is very little, and very leafy.  Yes, time to buy some sheets.

I’ve hung some pictures in the hallway. A few more to go. The lady who wanted the blue lamp moved – as you can see, it’s moved. (And to the person who wanted a flash of red in the sitting room, – um, the red wishbone chair is now in shot). Goodness, what a lot of thoughts there were. Bonkers!!

Anyway, I’m about to have breakfast with my great friend Valentina from New York (she’s having a viewing of my flat) and tomorrow, bright and early, we’re off to Italy for ten days. Woohoo.  No blogs, no email, no mobile.  No activities (apart from the Palio in Siena tomorrow evening, for the first time in ages). I cannot wait.  Well, I have to wait 24 hours. But looking at the list of things I’ve got to get through today – it might go quite quickly. Let’s hope the holiday goes a bit slower.

28 comments on this post

Just to say we’ve had hung this lovely map in this configuration for two customers now so please do get in touch. We are professional picture hangers and cover all of London, Bristol, Brighton and everywhere in between.


I am so happy to have managed to hang the map properly – against the scepticism of the whole family – that I wanted to share how I did: I have hanged first C3 and D3 in the right position with respecto the whole wall. To hang the other frames close to each other I have continued vertically, i.e. by positioning D2 on D3, D1 on D2 etc. To achieve the perfect adherence among the frames I have measured the position of the hook behind the frame with respect to the top edge and the lateral edge, then positioned D2 in contact with D3 (above it), drawn an horizontal line on the wall along the top of the frame, drawn a vertical line along the frame laterally, and knowing the position of the hook with respect to the two lines I have put a nail on the wall on the corresponding position. It sounds more difficult than it is…and yes the final effect is fantastic, even with Ikea dark wood frames (sorry ;-))


Hi Ben,

It’s indeed an old post but I would really need your help 🙂 I would be really grateful if you could reply…
Essentially I bought the maps from Pentreath and Hall end of 2015, I’ve now got them framed but I’m struggling to find anyone expert who can hang them properly and achieve the ‘one map’ finish. Do you have a recommendation on who to employ to get this job properly done please?

Thanks in advance.


I realise this is an old post but I came across it following a Google search. I also have a copy of these maps. They are without doubt my favourite possession. They’d be with me on my Desert Island. I have always wanted a wall big enough to display them as you have but unfortunately we only managed to get the central four of the top two rows on display.

Love what you’ve done with yours.

One day. One day.

If you print it, people will buy it. I made a copy of the Turgot plan de Paris, and I get requests for it all of the time – and that’s for a digital copy. And if you do sell the map, let me know and I will PR it on my blog where I am known for my love of maps!

I know I’m very behind sending this now, but any time you like ! please more pictures of your new flat. You have inspired me to get my sabre leg dining chairs c.1820 out of the loft – even if they’re juxtaposed with a Modern table. They are lovely, by the way, have a ‘swagged’ back, but have only four. One was found stuffed with large pair of y- fronts and a letter.

Sandy Paulsays:

The flat looks wonderful and the map is superb.

Such a transformation! I almost can’t believe it’s the same place as the photos of the ripped-up floorboards?!

I love the mustard shade in the hall too. In a funny way, it reminds me of that wonderful game Cluedo. Only the Ben Petreath version would be: Colonel Mustard, in the hall, with a blue lamp!

I loved your Fornasetti so much I priced a similar chest of drawers here in Melbourne. They were A$38,000. Which is, oh, a deposit on a house, really. So I’ll just swoon over yours.

Beautiful post, as always Ben.


Dear all, sorry for taking so long to reply but I keep forgetting to look up my paint colour. It’s from Patrick Baty, Papers & Paints, and is called 5-063 from the 1950s colours range. Now you will understand why I couldn’t remember the name…!

The kitchen paint colour is 4-050 from the same range, and the cabinet knobs are from Optimum Brass, who have an excellent catalogue – I tend to use ‘C-20’ in the kitchen for drawer pulls and cupboard handles.

All best, Ben

Caroline Wakefieldsays:

I have been squinting into your kitchen from the photo above hoping to see what the tiles look like….. (must be so strange having all these strangers scrutinise your home) and am wondering where you got the knobs for the kitchen cupboards?? I am currently ‘doing’ my kitchen… with painted cupboards and wooden worktops and have been trying to find a small dark knob…. sort of discreet but gutsy if you know what I mean! I am dallying with wood metal and china…. without spending 20 quid on each knob… any guidance gratefully received! (or a better picture of your kitchen) love it all C

Congratulations on your new flat. It is shaping up splendidly. I would be most grateful to know what colour of mustard green your hallway is painted. I really admire the strong colours you have chosen and the way you are hanging the artwork, map included. All good things and best wishes in your new home.

Judith Percivalsays:

Lamb’s Conduit Street did exist in a sense, but it was called Red Lion Street and ran from High Holborn to the Foundling Hospital, crossing Theobald’s road.


Thank you for a very inspiring blog!
Congratulations on the new flat, looks beautiful.
If ever possible I would be very interested to buy the map.


Thank you so much for sharing all these photos of your beautiful flat,I absolutely LOVE everything and it looks so perfect already.Living in London would be one of my dreams…as well as going to Tuscany on holiday.Enjoy!

How beautiful, your flat looks amazing. I was very interested in the map, I used to live in Mecklenburgh Square, so very near where the Foundling Hospital was….Have a wonderful break.


have a great holiday ben! you deserve a rest. the flat is looking incredible.

Jo Ssays:

was worried your flat wouldn’t be as nice as the previous one but it’s gorgeous and has a real homely feel to it. Just one question for your return (or before if you’ve finished packing). How much did it cost and where did you get all those frames done? must have cost a fortune though I suppose it’s worth it since its much better than any wallpaper.
Enjoy Italy.


Looking good!

One can also buy a reproduction of the Roque map from Historic Urban Plans. Quite a bit more at $850 but they do have a single sheet version and many other maps as well:

(I have no connection to the company, I just love maps)

deb millersays:

Definitely a case of serendipity!
But how did you achieve the frame effect? Individually frame each section or overlay the frame effect? If you individually framed each section, master job in hanging!


Thanks for the feedback about the map, my curiosity is at rest momentarily, being a bit more curious, would love to see more lovely shots of the flat, well what do you expect? If your going to be a design icon people are going to want to see more, sorry no offense and do not wish to breach privacy, the flat is looking great, well done, well deserved happy holiday.

Me encanta la decisión ariesgada de colores: berenejena en el dormitorio… rojo oscuro en el pasillo…, hojas frescas para los invitados… ¿cómo te sientes? ¿te ocurre que cada día quieres volver a casa cuanto antes…? Eso se llama HOGAR.

¿Puedo sumarme a la lista de espera de las personas interesadas en una copia del mapa de Londres?
Felices vacaciones!!
Esther-D. Abad

Where did you get the frames for the maps, 24 of them must have blown the budget! It is breathtakingly beautiful, well done!


Gorgeous new flat Ben! What is the paint on the sitting room walls? Happy holiday. xx


Your flat is totally fab!The best bit is it looks like you have always been there. Please put me on the map ‘bring up file’ and all the best for a great holiday.

Emma Lipscombesays:

Hello, I’m interested in the maps too so keep me posted if it ever happens! Thank you


Yes – I would def buy a map.
Also – what colour is it in the hall?

everything looks amazing. i have a feeling you’ll be selling maps at the shop very soon 🙂


That map is incredible!

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