Cambridge University Library

The Hanson collection

detail from Map of Zeeland, 

							 mid to late sixteenth centuryThe Hanson collection, which formed part of the library of the Cruising Association, was acquired in 1990. One of its founding members, Herbert James Hanson, set out to form for the Association a comprehensive collection of books and atlases, both British and foreign, concerning the history of ship-building and navigation.

The collection includes many remarkable maritime atlases, the earliest dating from the sixteenth century. It also includes books devoted to ship-building and design, some describing specific problems like the prevention of dry rot in ships. Works on the fundamental questions of the accurate measurement of time and determination of longitude are included, as are works on shipwrecks. Diseases specific to naval life are also featured, with the works of James Lind, and also rare pamphlets on conditions such as scurvy.

The image above is a detail from a vibrantly coloured map of Zeeland, which may be a uniquely surviving copy. It is bound with eleven other maps of the Netherlands printed in the late sixteenth century. It is anonymous, but some other maps in the compilation are attributed to Gerard de Jode (1509-1591) an engraver and print-seller based in Antwerp. De Jode was one of an unrivalled procession of great cartographers who emerged from the Low Countries between 1570 and 1670. The maps produced were typically rich in decoration but accurate according to the knowledge of the time. The coat of arms is that of Zeeland. Click on the image to see a larger version.

References and further reading:

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