Plan of the harbour and road of Calais

Description

This is view from the Cotton Manuscripts collection shows proposals for additional fortifications of the British outpost at Calais. It is probably by Richard Lee, surveyor of the works there.  

Anthony Gerbino writes that the drawing might plausibly be dated to 1541, after the completion of the Beauchamp bulwark, shown at the north-eastern corner of the town wall. One of the two new towers of the Rysbank fort, at the tip pf the spit between the harbour and the ocean, is also shown, but not in the form ultimately carried out. A later drawing of the site, also presumably by Lee (BL Cotton, Augustus, I.ii.57), shows the executed arrangement of the fort more clearly. The additions were begun in February 1541 and completed a year later. 

As Peter Barber has observed, these two drawings are very close in style to others in the Cotton collection, including a famous view of Dover Harbour (Augustus I.i.22-23) and a fragmentary view of the English assault on Edinburgh in 1544 (Augustus I.ii.56). The group can be ascribed to Lee, who was connected to all three sites and who was well known to contemporaries as a draughtsman and cartographer. There is also a rough map of Orwell Haven (Augustus I.i.56) endorsed in his name. 

Full title:
Plan of the harbour and road of Calais (Pas-de-Calais), perhaps drawn by Sir Richard Lee
Created:
about 1541
Format:
Ink and Tempera / Parchment / View
Creator:
(Attributed to) Richard Lee
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Cotton MS Augustus I ii 70

Full catalogue details

Related articles

The paper revolution: the origin of large scale technical drawing under Henry VIII

Article by:
Anthony Gerbino
Themes:
Military and maritime, Science and nature

The first important transformation of English medieval design practice occurred in a military context, during the reign of Henry VIII. Pioneering plans, surveys and designs by leading Tudor engineers are housed in the British Library, particularly within Sir Robert Cotton’s manuscript collection. Anthony Gerbino, Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University of Manchester, explores further.

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