Portolan Chart of the British Isles(001ADD000031316U00000000)
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
This is a portolan chart of the British Isles dating from the early part of the 16th century. These comparatively accurate representations of coastlines made by, and for the use of navigators and were Invented by mariners. This particular example is unattributed portolan charts take their name from the Italian ‘Portolano’, meaning a written description of Catalan and Italian ports along a coastline. The first portolan Charts date from the late 13th century and represent an important change in the use of maps and charts. Until this point, most maps had held a religious significance and purpose, such as the medieval mappa mundi which was based on theological beliefs. The portolan chart contrasts with this tradition as they are based on direct observation and first hand experience and have a practical purpose.