Guide To Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library


HM 28

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FRANCESCO GHISOLFI (?), PORTOLAN ATLAS
Italy, s. XVI2
World atlas containing 11 nautical charts, table of declinations, etc.: 1. Blank except for decorated border and “Phillipps MS 22796” inscribed in center 2. Western Mediterranean 3. Table of declinations and armillary sphere 4. The 2 hemispheres (showing western America linked to Asia) 5. Oval map of the world 6. Planisphere with signs of zodiac and figures representing seasons 7. Indian Ocean, Africa, Arabia, India, and part of Asia 8. Central Mediterranean and Italy 9. Pacific Ocean with portions of North and South America, East Indies, part of China 10. Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean Sea 11. Western Mediterranean, Iberian peninsula, Northwest Africa 12. Eastern coast of North America, South America, Atlantic Ocean, Europe (including Scandinavia), Africa, Near East 13. World in 5 gores (decorated at top and bottom with signs of the zodiac and other figures) 14. Black Sea Parchment, ff. vii (modern paper) + 14 (parchment interleaved with 13 leaves of blank paper) + vii (modern paper); 277 × 410 (221 × 351) mm. Single folios attached sequentially with stubs. Borders decorated with stylized acanthus leaves in gold, edged in black. Occasional traces of original arabic numerals; modern numbering in pencil. Black and red ink for nomenclature in a minuscule script with square capitals for display script; land masses outlined in azure and gold; charts with one compass rose each (except number 8, where it is omitted); usual 32 rhumb line network in black, red and green ink for the principal directions; no latitude or longitude; distance indicated on each chart by series of small circles; highly decorated with vignettes of cities, many wind-heads and elaborate figures. Bound, ca. 1830, in English straight grain purple morocco, gold tooled; gilt edges. Title on spine “Cartes Hydrographiques M.S.” Attributed to Francesco Ghisolfi both because of the artistic construction (striking azure and gold map outlines, intricately drawn gold border pattern, and the colorful, finely drawn figures characteristic of his work) and the cartography (closely patterned on the charts of Agnese, his teacher); probably made in Genoa, his home, during the latter half of the sixteenth century. On flyleaf, “Hanrott 1328 letters 1833” in reference to Philip Augustus Hanrott sale, Evans, 1833, pt. I, n. 1328 to French; on verso of first flyleaf and on f. 1, Sir Thomas Phillipps’ notes “Phillipps MS 22796”; an unsigned, undated note in a British hand on end flyleaf states “This atlas is by the same hand as the one in Riccardiana Florence No 3140 which has verses at the end dedicated to Francesco Gisolfo the author of the work, circa 1553.” Obtained privately by A. S. W. Rosenbach for Henry E. Huntington in 1924. Bibliography: Wagner, “The Manuscript Atlases of Battista Agnese,” 45-46, 54. De Ricci, 41. Wagner, Cartography, 1:29 and 2:278, n. 20. Wagner, Portolan Atlases, 9-10. G. Piersantelli, L’Atlante di carte marine di Francesco Ghisolfi (Genoa 1947), 1-14 (with discussion of varied spellings of Ghisolfi’s name, aspects of his work, and the Genoa manuscript, but no mention of this atlas). PAC, 97, n. 302.
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)
PAC
Canada. Public Archives. Sixteenth-Century Maps Relating to Canada; a check-list and bibliography (Ottawa 1956)
Wagner, Cartography
H. R. Wagner, The Cartography of the Northwest Coast of America to the Year 1800 (Berkeley 1937)
Wagner, Portolan Atlases
H. R. Wagner, “The Portolan Atlases of American Interest in the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery” in Essays offered to Herbert Putnam, ed. by W. W. Bishop and A. Keogh (New Haven 1929) 498-509; repr. issued separately cited in this catalogue
Wagner, “The Manuscript Atlases of Battista Agnese”
H. R. Wagner, “The Manuscript Atlases of Battista Agnese,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 25 (1931) 1-110 and plates

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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