A Rare Outing for Pierre Desceliers’s 1546 World Map

This just in: another gem from the John Rylands library collection has been on display. We’ll have to make do with the digital version, but it looks pretty nice.

John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog

One of the Library’s great treasures is a remarkable manuscript map of the world, or Mappe Monde, produced in 1546 by the distinguished French cartographer Pierre Desceliers (French MS 1*).

Because of its size (260 x 130 cms), fragility, and the sheer logistical challenge of manoeuvring it around the building, the map is very rarely removed from it storage location, but last week it had a rare outing so that it could be examined by a researcher, Chet van Duzer, from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Chet is an expert on early world maps, and has been commissioned to write a book about a similar map by Desceliers now at the British Library (Add. MS 24065).

Chet van Duzer consults the Desceliers Mappe Monde (French MS 1*) Chet van Duzer consults the Desceliers Mappe Monde (French MS 1*)

It took a team of five conservators to move the map in its 19th-century wooden case, and we had to limit access…

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