I came across this on the Internet Archive. It is titled The Traveller’s Guide to Madeira and the West Indies by Anonymous. It is an anonymous journal giving the account of a trip through the West Indies in 1815, featuring several engraved plates employing the ingenious technique of depicting the course of days and their events using pictures, or “hieroglyphs”.
The three screenshots below provide an explanation of the “explanatory key” used with the hieroglyphs.
Explanatory Key
Introduction - 2
Here is an example of the Hieroglyphics. Based on the Explanatory Key the Author provided us above, we can see that February 6th was a Sunday (cross above and below the number) and that they show an Emblematical Figure to indicate that something significant happened that day.
Plate 2a
Using the Emblematical Figure 1 from above, we can then cross reference that to the text in the journal to see the written detail of what happened that day (see screenshot below).
Example 1
Here are a couple more examples from February 16th and March 5th, respectively.
Example 2
Example 3
This last set of hieroglyphs are from the final days of traveling and the Appendix, where the Author discusses the proper clothes to take with you if you decide to take a similar trip.
Plate 10
If you are interested in reading this journal, here is a link to the PDF on the Internet Archive site.
Best regards.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. […] data visualization isn’t just a tool for you, I strongly suggest reading “Dataviz as history: the traveller’s guide to Madeira and the West Indies (1815).” (Although, I would call that post “Dataviz as a Story.”) In this post, Michael […]


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DataViz History, Hieroglyphs, Infographics, Uncategorized


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