Collection Level Description: Portolan Charts in the Bodleian Library

Reference: (See below)
Title: Portolan Charts in the Bodleian Library
Dates of Creation: early 15th cent.-1741
Extent: 17 shelfmarks
Name of Creator: Various

Language of Material: Spanish, Italian, English, Dutch, Portuguese, and Arabic

Administrative/Biographical History

Cartographers represented in the collection include: Battista Agnese (1514-64), the Blaeu family including Joan Blaeu (ca. 1599-1673), John Burston (fl. 1638-66), Pietro Cavallini (fl. 1654-88), Nicholas Comberford (c. 1600-73), John Corner (fl. 18th cent.), Augustine Fitzhugh (fl. 1683-97), Joel Gascoyne (1650-1705), Francesco Ghisolfi (fl. 16th cent.), Joan Martines (1556-90), Bartolomeo Olives (fl 1538-88), Placido Caloiro et Oliva (1615-53), Ali b. Ahmad Safakusi (fl 16th cent.), Domingos Teixeira (fl. 1565-95), John Thornton (fl. 17th cent.) and Samuel Thornton (fl. 1703-39). See Tooley's dictionary of mapmakers for details.

Scope and Content

The collection comprises Arabic, English, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish portolan charts (early 15th cent.-1741) covering the following areas:

The shelfmarks of the collection are as follows: Map Res. 117-119; MS. C2:7 (23); MSS. Can. Ital. 140-4; MS. D1 (185) [1-13]; MS. Don. a. 4-5; MSS. Douce 390-1; MSS. K1 (110-11); MS. Marsh 294; MS. Rawl. B. 256.

Administrative Information

Access Conditions

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Further Information

Finding Aids

The card catalogue is no longer available, , but it exists in virtual form as the Flipbook at Portolans are listed in the Mapmakers’ Index section. More detailed descriptions may be found in the following catalogues:

Access Points

Nautical charts | Early works to 1800

Agnese | Battista | 1514-1564 | Genoese cartographer

Blaeu | Joan | c 1599-1673 | Dutch cartographer

Comberford | Nicholas | c 1600-1673 | English cartographer

Martines | Joan | 1556-1590 | Mallorcan cartographer

Olives | Bartolomeo | fl 1538-1588 | cartographer

Thornton | John | fl 17th century | English cartographer

Thornton | Samuel | fl 1703-1739 | English cartographer

Blaeu | family

Adriatic Sea

Aegean Sea

Asia, Southeastern

Atlantic Ocean

Biscay, Bay of (France and Spain)

Black Sea

Central America


Guangzhou (China)

Indian Ocean


Java Sea (Indonesia)

Lesser Sunda Islands

Madura Island (Indonesia)

Malabar Coast (India)

Mediterranean Sea

South Africa

South America

South China Sea

Taiwan Strait

Thailand, Gulf of

Contact Information
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Transformation from XML to HTML by Lawrence Mielniczuk 04 May 2016