Guide To Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library


HM 1092 “Wilton Codex”

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PTOLEMY, GEOGRAPHIA
Italy, ca. 1480
Atlas of the world from Western Europe and Africa to Indochina, containing 27 maps and 26 tables: 1. ff. 1v-2: Engraved world map from F. Berlinghieri, Geografia (Florence: Nicolaus Laurentii, ca. 1480; Hain 2825), hand colored with gold leaf border, nomenclature overtraced in color or gold (water damaged) 2. ff. 3v-4: British Isles (with part of Thule at top right) 3. ff. 5v-6: Spain and Portugal 4. ff. 7v-8: France 5. ff. 9v-10: Germany 6. ff. 11v-12: Northern Adriatic region, Italy and Yugoslavia 7. ff. 13v-14: Italy, Corsica 8. ff. 15v-16: Sardinia, Sicily 9. ff. 17v-18: Baltic Sea to Black Sea 10. ff. 19v-20: Adriatic Sea to Black Sea 11. ff. 21v-22: Greece 12. ff. 23v-24: Northwest Africa 13. ff. 25v-26: North central Africa 14. ff. 27v-28: Northeast Africa 15. ff. 29v-30: Northern half of Africa 16. ff. 31v-32: Turkey 17. ff. 33v-34: Russia (Sarmatia) 18. ff. 35v-36: Black Sea to Caspian Sea 19. ff. 37v-38: Mediterranean Sea to Persian Gulf 20. ff. 39v-40: Caspian Sea to Persian Gulf 21. ff. 41v-42: Red Sea to Persian Gulf 22. ff. 43v-44: Central Asia, east of Caspian Sea 23. ff. 45v-46: Parts of Russia and Iran (Scythia, etc.) 24. ff. 47v-48: Indus River 25. ff. 49v-50: India 26. ff. 51v-52: Ganges River and Burma 27. ff. 53v-54: Ceylon (i.e., Taprobana, spelled “Tarrogane” on map and “Trapobanem” on accompanying table) 28. ff. 3-53: Europe Tabula Prima. Prima europe tabula insulas brittanicas…finis Asiae tabularum duodecim; [f. 54v, 2 lines of text:] tunc velut natum permistica santificatum fulgura de sursum depellit omni malignum.
Twenty-six tables alternating with maps; the tables are similar in text and format to the Ebner Manuscript in the Lenox Library at the New York Public Library, published in facsimile by E. L. Stevenson, Geography of Claudius Ptolemy (New York 1932) following p. 168. Published in many versions, the first with maps printed in Rome, 1478. See N. A. E. Nordenskiöld, Facsimile Atlas to the Early History of Cartography (Stockholm 1889) 9-29.
Parchment, ff. i (early modern paper) + 54 (27 bifolia with maps on center openings and accompanying tables on preceding reverse sides) + i (early modern paper); 457 × 295 mm. (map size, 375 × 440 mm. on double page openings, with many variations). Bifolia attached sequentially with tabs. Tables in a humanistic hand with modern form arabic numerals. Text framed in narrow bands of patterned color (or laurel leaves) outlined with narrow strips of silver or gold, each table beginning with scroll lettered in alternating red and blue square capitals; opening initials 3- or 2-line gold on white-patterned blue ground with parted green and pink infilling. Alternating red and blue 1-line initials placed outside written space; rubrics in red or blue.Maps are mainly trapezoidal in shape, all maps have rectilinear meridians (except for the engraved world map, which is curvilinear), outside borders are bands of gold leaf. Contemporary arabic numbering of the maps at the top center of the page preceding each map, omitting the engraved world map and counting the British Isles map as number 1, which may indicate that the engraved map was added somewhat later. Heawood (see below, p. 240) suggests it may have been an early proof impression on parchment of Berlinghieri’s printed volume. Possibly grouped for binding according to the numbers 1 to 16 written, s. XV/XVI on ff. 1, 7, 11, 15, 19, 21, 23, 27, 31, 35, 39, 41, 43, 47, 49, 51 (thus including the engraved world map). Modern penciled foliation in top right corners. Nomenclature of maps in black or red ink, with area names in gold, blue or red, and scholia in black or purple ink; cursive noting hand and some use of square capitals; no compass directions or rhumb lines; borders of maps formed by the numbered latitude and longitude scales; no distance scales; sea areas covered with purple wash, cities indicated by small gold circles and mountain ranges with wide ocher bands; no decoration except scrollwork at tops of maps and wind-heads on the engraved world map. Bound, s. XVIIIin, in Pembroke binding of English red morocco, gilt; rebacked. Volume is now disbound and kept in modern case; binding preserved separately. Made in Italy (judging from the humanistic hand, the abbreviations used and the ornamental borders of the tables), probably ca. 1480; it seems to be an early work with the maps showing a large number of place names still in Greek, lacking the various symbols later used for cities, and omitting the maps that were included in later recensions; Joseph Fisher (see below, 1:370-71) suggests a close similarity to the early work of Pietro del Massaio. Purchased ca. 1700 by Thomas Herbert, 8th Earl of Pembroke (1656-1733) for his library at Wilton House, Salisbury. Pembroke sale, Sotheby’s, 26 June 1914, lot 166 to Karl Wilhelm Hiersemann (1854-1938) whose press mark “Kh.9” appears on front flyleaf. Quaritch Handlist, 1923, n. 35. Sold by Hiersemann to Otto Heinrich Friederich Vollbehr (b. 1869). Sale by Sotheby’s, 28 July 1924, n. 135 with reproduction of engraved world map, to Maggs for Henry E. Huntington. Bibliography: De Ricci, 91. J. Fischer, Claudii Ptolemaei Geographiae (Turin 1932) 1:218, 365-74 with reproduction of 2 maps (36v-37 and 53v-54) in vol. 2, item L-30. E. Heawood, “The Wilton Codex of Ptolemy Maps,” Geographical Journal 64 (1924) 237-40.
Abbreviations
De Ricci
S. De Ricci, with the assistance of W. H. Wilson, Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada (New York 1935-37; index 1940)
Hain
L. F. T. Hain, Repertorium bibliographicum (Stuttgart etc. 1826-38)

C. W. Dutschke with the assistance of R. H. Rouse et al., Guide to Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library (San Marino, 1989). Copyright 1989.
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, California.
Electronic version encoded by Sharon K, Goetz, 2003.
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