On the sixth day of Steampunk Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Six Antique Maps.
A good airship captain needs a good map to navigate by. Fortunately, antique maps are easy to find and, framed and matted, make a great gift. They can be a little pricy, however.
If you want the look of antique maps to steam up your home decor, there are many sources of high-resolution reprints on-line. Provided you want to go completely DIY, two sources pop out:
Both of these libraries have digitized parts of their map collections and have made them available for download. There are also additional local and state libraries that have digitized their collections (the British Library has many links for the UK), not to mention the historical map collection of the US Geological Survey. Choose one you–or the lucky recipient of your gift–would like, print it out, and put it in an appropriate frame. For an extra authentic look, you can print it on printer grade parchment paper such as this.
One other interesting collection in the Library of Congress is of Panoramic Maps, basically hand-drawn aerial views which the artist (with varying accuracy) filled in by walking up and down the streets drawing in the buildings. The picture below is a snippet of a high-resolution download of a panoramic view of San Jose, California in 1869, showing my neighborhood, although I am sure none of the houses shown exist anymore (if they ever did…).
Antique maps are a great way to add interesting artwork to your home and to give it a bit of an explorer/adventurer feel.