The poem Cartography was written specially by Jo Shapcott as a contribution to the collection The Oriana Collection, commissioned by the BBC and the King's Singers to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. For the performance in 2002 at the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, only three sections of the poem were used, but it was always in the mind of composer and Singers for a complete setting to be made. The opportunity occurred with a concert by the Singers at the Sittingbourne Music Society, in January 2007. The poem traces a journey across Hadrian's Wall from the Roman fort of Arbeia in the east to Carlisle in the west, and down Offa's Dyke from north to south. The work reflects on themes of landscape, the life within and upon the landscape, and memory. It is described on the score as a "Madrigal for six voices", and is tied together by the Latin refrain, which occurs before each verse and at the end, usually in just two parts and only set fully for the sextet for the closing version.