VIJT, Dierick. [Portolan Chart of Western Europe. Amsterdam?: c. 1575-1580].
Illuminated manuscript portolan chart, ink and colours on vellum, approx. 665 x 660mm, signed 'Bij mij Dierick Vijt' by western scale-bar.The chart extends from Greenland to the west coast of the Kanin peninsula, and includes the North Coast of Africa and the Mediterranean as far the Sardinia and Corsica, the Canaries, the Azores, La Palma, Madeira, Porto Santo, and the mythical island of Brazil, as well as an unidentified island off the west coast of Iceland, coast-lines in green, the province of Holland outlined in red, coastal place names in red and black, some sandbanks indicated particularly along the Dutch coast and in the Zuiderzee, two large and five small decorated compass-roses, 4 half compass-roses set at border at each compass point, 17 coloured flags and shields identifying the principal nations, 2 decorative scale-bars, a longitudinal graticule down the Western Atlantic, the chart decorated with double rule broad border. (Lightly soiled).
A VERY FINE UNRECORDED, SIGNED DUTCH PORTOLAN CHART, one of the earliest Dutch representations of Northern Scandinavia, the White Sea, and the West coast of the Kanin Peninsula. No other works are known by Dierick Vijt, who appears to have had access to Portuguese or Spanish portolans as this chart is modelled on the Catalan-style decoration of Iberian charts, in particular the style of the compass-roses, the flamboyant use of flags and shields, and the scale-bars. However, northern Europe was not the principal interest of the Portuguese or the Spanish, and for Scandinavia, the White Sea, and the West coast of the Kanin Peninsula, Vijt must have drawn on other sources. Expeditions with which Vijt may have been familiar were those of Stephen Borough to the Lapland coast (in the Searchthrift in 1557), Jenkinson (his four expeditions to Russia between 1557-71), and Sir Hugh Willoughby to Nova Zembla and the White Sea. However, the map does not extend as far East as Kolguyev Island, discovered in 1553 by Willoughby, and neither does it show the other discoveries of Willoughby and Borough in the 1550s or Barentsz at the end of the 16th-century. In content this portolan is related to 3 other Northern European charts also in the possession of the von Maldeghem family and sold in these rooms in April 1988, a Portuguese chart by Luis Teixeira, dated 1578, a Thames School chart by Thomas Layton of Danzig, and an unsigned Dutch portolan of Western Europe of circa 1580. The role of Philip von Maldeghem (1547-1611), a follower of the Duke of Alba and later Burgomeister of Bruges, in the gathering of these 4 charts is uncertain, but together they formed an important group of Northern European portolans. Curiously this map still shows the mythical island of 'Brazil', but the coast of Greenland is reasonably well depicted, if lacking in detail. The depiction of the North Coast of Scandinavia with the White Sea make this chart a significant addition to early Dutch cartography, placing the North Holland school of mapmakers alongside the Thames School as these early northern European mapmakers dominated the great 16th century expeditions to discover the North East Passage.