Hakluyt @ 400 - Renaissance Scientific Instruments (1)
Surveying the Earth; Thomas Digges, Christopher Saxton, Map-Makers, and Tudor 'Mathematical Practitioners'.
By the time that Richard Hakluyt was teaching geography and cosmography at Christ Church around 1580, there was already an established Europe-wide trade in making graduated mathematical instruments. The great oceanic discoveries, especially of the American continent which so fascinated Hakluyt and his contemporaries, demanded a cartography that advanced beyond that of Ptolemy in c. AD 150. The English Reformation, and the selling-off of the monastic estates, also created a new demand for accurate estate and county maps, as cartography became both a science and an art by the 1570s. London became a major centre for a growing body of 'Mathematical Practitioners' who made instruments and printed maps, and sold them to an enthusiastic public.
Most of the ordinary instruments of the working navigator, surveyor, and map-maker would have been made of wood, and would have had an ephemeral existence. They would have been lost at sea, broken, or eventually thrown into the fire. Where these instruments truly come to life, though, is in the engraved and printed manuals for their usage.
To illustrate how these instruments were used, the Library has invited Dr Allan Chapman to give a series of talks. These will take place on 5 December and 16 January in the Upper Library at Christ Church, commencing 17.15, all welcome. The event is free of charge, but spaces are limited. To book a place, please contact Dr Cristina Neagu.
Telephone: +44 1865 276265