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Early Dutch Maritime Cartography

The North Holland School of Cartography (c. 1580-c. 1620)

Series:

Günter Schilder

Winner of the 2019 Menno Hertzberger Prize for Book History and Bibliography

This book is an exposition of an important, yet previously unknown chapter in the history of Dutch maritime cartography. While Amsterdam was developing into Europe’s most vital commercial hub in the seventeenth century, demanding and controlling the production of maps and sea-charts, a major School of Cartography was already flourishing in the so-called ‘Kop van Noord-Holland’ region just north of Amsterdam. This School specialised in the production of small-scale charts of larger areas, including the European coastlines and the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Its masters used to call themselves ‘caert-schrijvers’ or ‘map-scribes’ when clarifying their profession. The cities of Enkhuizen and Edam were important trading ports and as such provided an ideal environment for developing into centres of cartography, serving sea-borne navigation.
Apart from the well-known printed pilot guides by Lucas Jansz Waghenaer, the output of these ‘caert-schrijvers’ consists mainly of manuscript charts on vellum. Copies, though few they are, nowadays can be found across the globe. Sea-charts provided invaluable on-board navigation assistance to ship captains. However, another surprising contemporaneous purpose for financing these charts become popular. Rich ship owners and merchants would commission new charts to serve as wall-decoration as well as a reference point for their maritime-related conversations. They feature a decorative lay-out filled with magnificent colours. Moreover, many of these charts are embellished with miniature paintings, certainly making them some of the most beautiful exemplars ever produced by Dutch cartography during its Golden Age.

Material Culture and Queenship in 14th-century France

The Testament of Blanche of Navarre (1331-1398)

Series:

Marguerite Keane

In Material Culture and Queenship in 14th-century France: The Testament of Blanche of Navarre (1331-1398) Marguerite Keane considers the object collection of the long-lived fourteenth-century French queen Blanche of Navarre, the wife of Philip VI (d. 1350). This queen’s ownership of works of art (books, jewelry, reliquaries, and textiles, among others) and her perceptions of these objects is well -documented because she wrote detailed testaments in 1396 and 1398 in which she described her possessions and who she wished to receive them. Keane connects the patronage of Blanche of Navarre to her interest in her status and reputation as a dowager queen, as well as bringing to life the material, adornment, and devotional interests of a medieval queen and her household.

Imagining the Text

Ekphrasis and Envisioning Courtly Identity in Wirnt von Gravenberg's Wigalois

Series:

James H. Brown

In Imagining the Text, James Brown examines ekphrasis – the verbal representation of a visual representation – in Wirnt von Gravenberg’s thirteenth-century Arthurian romance Wigalois, one of the most popular and enduring stories in the Middle High German literary tradition. Through close reading of the text and examining illustrated Wigalois manuscripts, early print editions, and frescoes, Brown explores how ekphrasis structures the narrative, harmonizes potential conflicts in the text, and contributes to the construction of courtly identity. Imagining the Text demonstrates that the vibrant symbiosis of word and image is crucial to the poem’s sustained popularity for more than six hundred years, and contributes to the history of the book and to the study of medieval and modern modes of perception.

Series:

Domenic Leo

The "Vows of the Peacock" - written in 1312 and dedicated to Thibaut de Bar, bishop of Liège - recounts how Alexander the Great comes to the aid of a family of aristocrats threatened by Indians. The poem remained popular throughout the fourteenth century and was soon followed by two sequels. Twenty-six illuminated manuscripts constitute part of a catalogue and concordance of all Peacock manuscripts. One of the most provocative, (PML, MS G24), has twenty-two miniatures which illustrate chivalry and courtly love, as epitomized in the text. An unusually high number of scurrilous marginalia, however, surround them. An interdisciplinary exploration of iconography, reception, image-text-marginalia dynamics, and context reveals their ultimate polysemy as scatological comedians and serious harbingers of sin.

Edited by Wim van Dongen

Dances of Death

Titles from the Dance of Death genre.

Edited by Wim van Dongen

Emblem Books

Emblem books from European Libraries (including the National Library of Austria, the university libraries of Amsterdam and Utrecht, the Royal Library in The Hague, the State Museum of Amsterdam, the Print Room-University of Leiden and the Zentralbibliothek, Zürich) as well as from some private collections. Authors include Abraham à Sancta Clara, Alciato, de Brune, Camerarius, Cats, Drechsel, Giovio, van Haeften, Hugo and many more.