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Detailed record for Harley 3686

Author Ptolemy , translated by Emanuel Chrysoloras and Jacobus Angelus
Title Geography , translated by Jacopo Angeli da Scarperia, with eighteen maps of Europe, Asia and Africa
Origin Italy, N. E. (Venice)
Date 2nd quarter of the 15th century
Language Latin
Script Gothic cursive
Decoration 8 full or double-page maps in green and red (ff. 23v, 28v, 34v, 98, 98v-99, 99v, 100, 100v-101). 5 large maps in green and red (ff. 12, 13, 15, 20, 41v). 5 smaller maps in green and red (ff. 31v, 32v, 33v, 36, 36v). 4 diagrams illustrating geographical principles (ff. 2v, 10, 10v, 11). Plain initials in red or blue. Rubric and paraphs in red. Capitals marked in red.
Dimensions in mm 295 x 230 (190 x 140)
Official foliation ff. 101 (+ 3 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and 2 at the end)
Form Paper codex
Binding BM/BL in-house; marbled endpapers.
Provenance Robert Burscough (b. 1650/51, d.1709), prebendary of Exeter in 1701, archdeacon of Barnstaple in 1703, rector of Cheriton Bishop in 1705: sold by his widow on 17 May 1715 to Robert Harley, along with other manuscripts (see Wright 1972, 87-88; Diary 1966).
The Harley Collection, formed by Robert Harley (b. 1661, d. 1724), 1st earl of Oxford and Mortimer, politician, and Edward Harley (b. 1689, d. 1741), 2nd earl of Oxford and Mortimer, book collector and patron of the arts, inscribed as usual by their librarian, Humfrey Wanley '17 Maji 1715' (f. 1).
Edward Harley bequeathed the library to his widow, Henrietta Cavendish, née Holles (b. 1694, d. 1755) during her lifetime and thereafter to their daughter, Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (b. 1715, d. 1785), duchess of Portland; the manuscripts were sold by the Countess and the Duchess in 1753 to the nation for £10,000 (a fraction of their contemporary value) under the Act of Parliament that also established the British Museum; the Harley manuscripts form one of the foundation collections of the British Library.
Notes 'Links with Andrea Bianco's nautical atlas (1436) suggest a Venetian provenance for the manuscript and a date of between 1436 and 1450.... The codex constitutes one of the earliest examples of the synthesis of portolan chart, Ptolomaic map and medieval mappamundi that characterised fifteenth-century cartography and the only example of such a synthesis on a regional scale' (Milanesi 1996).
'Ireland has a page to herself, but the magnified conception of Galway Bay that is seen here I have not met with again except in a Venetian portolano of 1489' (de Villiers, p. 169).
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), III (1808), no. 3686.

Catalogue of Manuscript Maps, Charts and Plans, and of the Topographical Drawings in the British Museum, 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1844-1861), I, p. 8.

J. A. J. de Villiers, 'Famous Maps in the British Museum', The Geographical Journal (August 1914), 168-88 (pp. 169, 183).

The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, ed. by Cyril Ernest Wright and Ruth C. Wright, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), I: 1715-1723, p. 11 n. 6.

Cyril Ernest Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), p. 88.

Marcia Milanesi, ‘A forgotten Ptolemy: Harley codex 3686 in the British Library’, Imago Mundi: The International Journal for the History of Cartography, 48 (1996), 43-64.


Images
* * *
 
Map of Ireland

f. 12
Map of Ireland
Map of Britain

f. 13
Map of Britain
Map of the Iberian Peninsula

f. 15
Map of the Iberian Peninsula
 
Map of France

f. 20
Map of France
Map of Germany

f. 20v
Map of Germany
Map of Germany

f. 23v
Map of Germany
 
Map of the Italian Peninsula

ff. 28v-29
Map of the Italian Peninsula
Map of Corsica

f. 31v
Map of Corsica
Map of Sicily

f. 33
Map of Sicily
 
Map of Greece

f. 34v
Map of Greece
Map of Crete

f. 36v
Map of Crete
Map of the Black Sea

f. 41v
Map of the Black Sea
 
Map of the Caspian Sea

f. 98
Map of the Caspian Sea
Map of central and east Asia

ff. 98v-99
Map of central and east Asia
Map of north-west Africa

f. 99v
Map of north-west Africa
 
Map of the Baltic and Scandinavia

f. 100
Map of the Baltic and Scandinavia
Map of Poland

ff. 100v-101
Map of Poland

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