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Atlases, Maps and Plans

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0064 P
Held at: National Maritime Museum
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Full title: Atlases, Maps and Plans
Date(s): [1420-1790]
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 12ft: 365cm
Name of creator(s): Various


Administrative/Biographical history:

Atlases, maps and plans - volumes.


Scope and content/abstract:

Volumes: This class consists of fifty-eight manuscript atlases, fifteenth to eighteenth centuries. However, there is an Arabic manuscript volume thought to be of the thirteenth century, with maps and text on Arabia and the Middle East, by Istakhri-Abu Ibrahim al-Farisi. There are two copies of the isolario (island book), 1420, by Cristoforo Buondelmonte (fl 1406-1422), with plans and texts relating to the Ionian islands, the Greek Archipelago and Constantinople. The other fifteenth-century volume is that by Bartolommeo dalli Sonetti, c 1485, containing text and plans of an isolario of the Greek Archipelago and Dodecanese Islands. There are seventeen sixteenth-century volumes, nine of which are Italian. The earliest, c 1500, is by Joannis Jacomo, and contains charts of the Mediterranean coast, Spain and Portugal; other volumes include a copy of twenty-seven maps of Ptolemy made, c 1513, by George Schab; a world map and world chart on vellum, c 1510, by Francesco Roselli (1445-1515); a volume of thirteen charts of the Black Sea and Mediterranean, c 1525, attributed to Johan Martinez; a roteiro of c 1545 in Portuguese by Emanuel Alvares, containing detailed instructions for the voyage from Lisbon to India, including some on navigational methods; an unsigned and undated Portuguese volume, c 1550, of twenty-four charts of the world; two copies, 1554 and 1555 respectively, by Johan Baptista Agnese (fl 1536-1564) of charts of the world, mostly of the Mediterranean; and a world atlas of nine maps by Angelo Freducci, 1555.

Two French volumes contain world maps; the first, of 1567, is by Nicolas Desliens, and the second, of 1568, by Pierre Hamon (d 1569). There are also a Portuguese volume, dated 1567, of ten charts of the world by Giovanni Martinez (1556-1590); a manuscript of 1590 on navigation and astronomy by Antonio Millo (fl 1557-1590), with a treatise on the islands of the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Pacific, bound in with notes on navigation by Richiede Alarte and a similar volume of 1596 by Jacques Dousaigo; and six world charts, 1592, in a volume by Johan Oliva. Seventeen seventeenth-century volumes include one, unsigned, Italian, c 1610, containing six charts of the Atlantic and Mediterranean; a similar Portuguese volume of 1632 by Joannes Oliva (fl 1580-1634); a world atlas of 1667 by Bridault of France; an undated atlas of the Mediterranean by Gasparo Tentivo. There then follows a group of nine English works of the second half of the century. First, there is a set of five large volumes from the collection of George Legge, Lord Dartmouth (q.v.); three of them are by Sir Bernard de Gomme (1620-1685), of maps and plans of Portsmouth, 1670 to 1675, Plymouth, 1666 and 1672, and, with Thomas Phillipps (d.1693), a survey of the Channel Islands, 1680. The remaining two volumes, in several hands, are of Tangiers, executed between 1654 and 1670, and of Ireland, 1580 to 1673. There are two sailing directions (or 'waggoners') of the Pacific coast of the Americas by Basil Ringrose (d 1686), Made c 1684, and by William Hack (fl 1680-1710), 1685. Finally in this group there are two copies of the survey undertaken in 1698 by Edmund Dummer, Surveyor of the Navy (d 1713), of the south coast of England. The earliest of twenty-two eighteenth-century volumes is French, unsigned, 1724, of the principal ports of France; others include a Spanish survey of 1760 by Don Jaime Matorel of American and Mediterranean coasts; of 1778 by Luis de Surville of ports in Central and South America. Finally, there is a set of twenty-two volumes by Thomas Pennant (1726-1798) of an imaginary world tour, written between 1790 and his death in 1798. Six of these volumes were published before 1804. For further details see Derek Howse and Michael Sanderson, The Sea Chart (London, 1973); and An inventory of the navigation and astronomy collections at the National Maritime Museum (London, 1970).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

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Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Edited by Sarah Drewery, Jun 2011.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:

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