Mr. Vignaud's Maps: Unraveling a Cartographic Mystery from the Golden Age of Dutch Cartography
Appendices of the British Isles and Northern Europe (Ms3)
The most elusive grouping of maps discovered during the course of the project was the Appendix Atlas of the British Isles and Northern Europe. In fact, it was not until our meeting with U-M Library’s former paper conservator, Cathleen Baker, that the fourth atlas came to our attention. The Appendix Atlas of the British Isles and Northern Europe, or more commonly referred to as “Manuscript Style 3” or “Ms3,” is a composite atlas containing approximately 23 maps. Given the atlas’s geographic focus and the consistent design throughout, it became apparent that the atlas was assembled to mimic the style of an appendix atlas by the Hondius or Janssonius firms. With this in mind, the Clark Library created the title, Appendix Atlas of the British Isles and Northern Europe, to reflect this unique collation. Nonetheless, Ms3 is actually a composite atlas, likely assembled at the request of a patron with the publisher and publication date unknown.
Certain physical characteristics, such as manuscript numbers, guards, and red sprinkles, can be found across the maps, indicating that they were all bound together for a time. Each sheet in the atlas has a manuscript number written in the top right corner of the verso, along with the subject of the map written in French. These manuscript numbers allow the maps to be arranged into the order in which they were likely bound. At the same time a closer examination reveals the same guards, strips of paper glued to the verso that is then sewn into the binding rather than the map itself, were used throughout the volume. Similarly, corresponding wormholes can be seen across several of the map sheets, demonstrating that they were stored together at the time. The final clue that indicates that these maps were all bound at one point during their lifetime is the evidence of red sprinkles visible along the fore-edge, head, and tail of the volume. When a book or atlas was bound, the fore-edge, head and tail might be decorated with red sprinkles or guilding. Such a decoration is added by firmly clamping the book shut, placing it on the spine and dusting the edges with the red dye. However, if the volume is not securely clamped shut, the red sprinkles will slip between the pages and become visible on the edges of the map sheets. It was thanks to Cathleen Baker that these particular physical characteristics became apparent to us. These red sprinkles can be found on many of the maps found in this atlas.
While many of the maps from the Vignaud Map Collection can be identified using Peter van der Korgt’s Koeman’s Atlantes Neerlandici, a total of 16 maps from this set do not match any listings in the authoritative bibliography, with 11 of these maps differing only slightly from those described in the work. This would suggest that the maps are previously unknown states, or variants of these maps. We have not found any additional mention of these unknown variants in other resources.