Guide To Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library
GUILLAUME BROUSCON, PORTOLAN CHART and NAUTICAL ALMANAC
I.World chart, which includes America and a large “Terra Java” (Australia?). Chart was originally folded and bound into front of the accompanying volume by an extension which bears a coat of arms (see below).
II.Tidal Almanac 1. ff. 1-4v: Tide tables in circular diagrams 2. f. 5: Diagram of the Rule of the North Star combined with the Rule to Raise or Lay 1° of Latitude 3. f. 5v: Chart of coast of northern Spain and western France showing ports linked to compass rose by weaving lines to indicate tides 4. f. 6: Chart of north coast of France, Flanders, Germany and Denmark with weaving lines as on preceding chart 5. f. 6v: Chart of England and Scotland with weaving lines as on preceding charts 6. f. 7: Chart of Ireland with weaving lines as on preceding charts 7. ff. 7v-8: Calendar of moveable feasts 8. ff. 8v-11: Vertical calendar of fixed feasts 9. f. 11v: Compass card 10. f. 12r-v: Star clock 11. ff. 13-20v: Solar declination tables for 4 year cycle In two parts: I. Parchment, f. 1; 463 × 682 mm. plus an extension at bottom right of 175 × 215 (415 × 632) mm. Border is highly colored with acanthus leaves and figures. Black ink for nomenclature in a minuscule script with area names in display script; land masses outlined in green with islands painted red, blue, gold, or silver; 12 elaborate compass roses with usual 32 rhumb line network in black, red, and green ink for the principal directions; 4 numbered latitude scales (with portions offset), no longitude; small numbered scale of distance in gold; colorfully decorated with banners, coats of arms, urns, etc. II. Parchment, f. i (modern parchment) + 20 + i (modern parchment); 220 × 146 (158 × 103) mm. 16(-1) 2-34 48(-1); in quire 1 the first leaf was the oversized chart, now removed. Last quire has faint numbers at bottom on recto and verso which correlate with the numbers at the top of the tables for the 4 year solar declination cycles. Ruled borders in black ink. Modern pencilled numbering. Black and red ink for nomenclature in a minuscule script on charts (ff. 5v-7) with area names in display script; no rhumb lines, latitude, longitude, or distance markings; black, red, and blue ink for tables; small illustrations in table on f. 7v. Bound, s. XIX, in red velvet with ties; world chart has been removed from volume, flattened and stored in separate modern brown cloth case. Probably made in Brittany (Le Conquet, near Brest?) by Guillaume Brouscon. World chart bears initials “G. B.” and year “1543” in the border. Although Harrisse in Découverte (see below) and others have ascribed the work to Giovanni Benedetto, it is now attributed to Guillaume Brouscon because of the Breton saints in the calendars, the Breton port nomenclature, and the marked similarity to Brouscon manuscripts in other libraries, such as London, Brit. Lib. Add. 22721 signed and dated 1543 and Cambridge, Magdalene College, Pepys 1 which has been published in facsimile as Sir Francis Drake’s Nautical Almanack 1546 (Cambridge 1980) with explanation by H. Derek Howse. On the extension of the world map originally bound into the front of the volume are the arms of Artus de Cossé, Maréchal de France (1512-82), the first owner (?); his name is pencilled below the coat of arms, and arms are described on flyleaf of the volume by a later owner. Given by a Dr. Moore (of Paris) ca. 1850 to Joseph Brooks Yates (1780-1855). Bequeathed by him to Henry Yates Thompson (1838-1928), whose bookplate is on front flyleaf marked “95, Inherited J. B. Y. 1856” (Cat. II, 1902, 2d series, n. 95). His sale, Sotheby’s, 3 June 1919, pt. I, n. 27 with reproductions of the coat of arms and portion of the world chart to G. D. Smith from whom it was acquired by Henry E. Huntington. Bibliography: Harrisse, Découverte, 223-24 with reproduction of portion of North American coast line on frontispiece. H. Y. Thompson, Illustrations from One Hundred Manuscripts in the Library of Henry Yates Thompson (London 1912) 21-22 with reproduction of coat of arms and American section of world chart in pls. 59 and 60. Anthiaume, 2:493-96. De Ricci, 45. Wagner, Portolan Atlases, 6. L. Dujardin-Troadec, Les Cartographes Bretons Du Conquet (Brest 1950) 9, 19-27, 38, 83 and 105 with reproduction of ff. 2v-3, 4v-8, 10-12v, and world chart on pp. 20-25 (the reproduction on p. 20 was apparently made from two photographs which do not fit together properly; the original chart is in one piece and all lines are continuous). D. W. Waters, The Art of Navigation (New Haven 1958) 32-33, 505. Wallis, 39, n. 2. R. Hervé, Découverte fortuite de l’Australie et de la Nouvelle-Zélande par des navigateurs portugais et espagnols entre 1521 et 1528 (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale 1982) esp. pp. 81-87 and passim, with reproduction of world chart on p. 128.
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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