Highlight of the month

The Rivers of Iceland and The Mountains of Iceland by Samúel Eggertsson

The works by surveyor Samúel Eggertsson (1864-1949), Ár Íslands (The Rivers of Iceland) and Íslands fjöll (The Mountains of Iceland), contain a lot of information.  The Mountains of Iceland shows the altitude of the country’s highest mountains and The Rivers of Iceland shows the geographical orientation of most of the rivers from west to east where their lengths can be compared. These works by Samúel Eggertsson can now be seen at the exhibition Sjónarhorn/Points of View at the Culture House in Reykjavík.

Samúel Eggertsson was born in Melanes at Rauðasandur in 1864. He studied at the agricultural school in Ólafsdalur 1887-1889 where he became familiar with various  aspects of farming, including surveying. Such work suited him well as he was a good illustrator. Early on, after he moved to Reykjavík with his family in 1909, he started writing calligraphy and drawing maps. He worked as a land surveyor in various places in the country, making maps and teaching. Many maps, illustrations and drawings by him are preserved, some from many perspectives where manifold information is graphically portrayed. Besides surveyor maps Samuel created many drawings which showed historical information, such as the settlement of Iceland and the country’s population development. His works appeared in books, but were also published as postcards. In 1930 he published the book Saga Íslands (The History of Iceland) that consisted of graphs with parallel chronicles and maps. Samúel also wrote articles in newspapers and journals about natural conditions, astronomy and other subjects.

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