Guide To Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library


HM 43

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ANDREW WELCH (?), PORTOLAN CHART
England, ca. 1674
Nautical chart of east coast of North and South America from the St. Lawrence River to the Amazon. Parchment, ff. ii (modern paper) + 1 (parchment) + xiv (modern paper); 690 × 475 (673 × 465) mm. Border is yellow band edged in black with simple arabesque and dot design on 3 sides only, indicating that this may be a “half-chart” of the North Atlantic. Black and red ink for nomenclature in a minuscule script with area names in display script; land masses outlined in color with islands painted blue, green, red, or yellow; 2 compass roses (one with Tudor rose in center); usual 32 rhumb line network in black, red, and green ink for the principal directions; latitude scale numbered from 6° to 42° N (but map extends beyond marked scale in both directions), no longitude; numbered scale of distance in an elaborate green foliate cartouche; soundings are marked in the New England-Nova Scotia coastal waters; no decoration except for cartouche on distance scale and compass roses. Chart appears to have been halved at the center vertical crease since the label for the Tropic of Cancer contains only the letters “TRO PI.” Water stains on bottom of center fold. Bound, s. XIX, in white parchment over boards. Chart has a vertical crease with cutouts for hinges top and bottom, indicating that it was originally mounted on wooden panels; a second fold has been made horizontally, probably by W. Pratt to make the map fit his binding for H. Stevens. Probably made in London about 1674 by Andrew Welch of the Thames School, judging from the marked similarity to his chart of that date for the North Atlantic in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich (NMM G 213:2/5). T. R. Smith suggests that HM 43 may be the western half of a North Atlantic Chart at the British Library (Add. 31858) which he attributes to “Samuel” Welch (see below). Sold in 1868 from the library of Henry Stevens (1791-1867) to Henry Huth (1815-78); Huth’s ex libris on pastedown and note “Portolano (7), p. 1171” indicating The Huth Library (1880) pt. 4, 1171. Pencilled “Huth 5919” shows sale of Alfred Henry Huth (1850-1910), Sotheby’s, 11 July 1917, pt. VI, n. 5919 to G. D. Smith from whom it was acquired by Henry E. Huntington. Bibliography: De Ricci, 44. T. R. Smith, “Manuscript and Printed Sea Charts in Seventeenth-century London: The Case of the Thames School” in N. J. W. Thrower, ed., The Compleat Plattmaker (Berkeley 1978) 49 and 98.
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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