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The English Channel 1542-44

The English Channel 1542-44

Cartographer: Rotz, Jean

Medium: Ink and tempera on parchment

Date: 1542

Shelfmark: Cotton Augustus I.ii

Item number: f.65

Length: 43.4

Width: 83.9

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript Map

This is a chart of the English Channel possibly dating from 1542-4. It shows the south coast of England and the facing French shore, from Calais to Brittany. It is drawn in ink over a pale blue wash and is characterized by delicate renderings of vegetation and wind heads. One of the wind heads differs from the others in that it is a death head, blowing from the south. The presence of the death head on the French side of the channel may be a comment on the negative Anglo-French relationship at this time as hostilities resumed once more in 1542.
The cartographer is not confirmed but the hand is French and similar to writing on another map (BL. Royal MS 20.E.IX) which is attributed to Jean Rotz, a Frenchman in the service of Henry VIII, suggesting that this too is his work.
The chart is drawn to approximately 1:637500 and a scale bar measuring 16cm representing 25 lienes is included along the right hand margin. It shows the English coast from St Margaret’s to the Scilly Isles, although these have been added later as they are drawn over the top of the blue wash. The detail of the east part of the English coast line is relatively accurate but the west is less so. The French coast is shown from Calais to Ouissant, off Brittany. Special attention is paid to the nature of the coasts as cliffs and sandy beaches are indicated. The interior detail consists of trees and hills which seem to correspond to the real location of rages of hills.
Lines have been inserted at Pourboul and Valongnes, close to Bayeux. Adjacent to Valonges an italic hand has inserted ‘view point’.

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