Guide To Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library


HM 1548

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ANONYMOUS, PORTOLAN CHART
Italy, s. XVex
Nautical chart of the Mediterranean area, including Europe with British Isles and part of Scandinavia. Parchment, f. 1 (full skin), 675 × 810 (660 × 810 including extension to the right) mm. Borders are triple ruled in black and red on top and bottom only. Black and red ink for nomenclature in a minuscule hand; land masses outlined in black ink (Ireland overtraced in green, Scotland in pale red, traces of ocher on other coasts) with islands painted gold, green, red or blue; no compass roses, instead the symbols for the 4 principal directions are inscribed on two rhumb line intersections, one on the upper and one on the right sides; several rhumb line patterns, some with 32 lines, many only partial; a simple latitude scale numbered from 24° to 54° N (scale appears to have been added later since it is drawn over portions of islands in the Atlantic and seems to be in another hand), no longitude; 2 unnumbered scales of distance (drawn in conjunction with upper and lower borders); simple decoration with a few vignettes of cities, banners, and one large figure, little color. Unbound: formerly mounted on a roller, now flattened in a modern portfolio. Probably made in northeastern Italy (Venice?), judging from linguistic characteristics, and possibly before 1492, since map appears to precede Spanish reconquest of Granada. Sold in 1867 by Henry Stevens (1791-1867) to Henry Huth (1815-78), The Huth Library (1880), pt. 4, 1171. Sale of Alfred Henry Huth (1850-1910), Sotheby’s, 11 July 1917, pt. VI, n. 5913 to G. D. Smith for Henry E. Huntington. Bibliography: De Ricci, 108. J. E. Kelley, Jr., “The Oldest Portolan Chart in the New World,” Terrae Incognitae 9 (1977) 38-39.
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)
The Huth Library
The Huth Library: a Catalogue of the Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, and Engravings Collected by Henry Huth (London 1880)

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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