Thursday, March 01, 2007

Saxton Atlas to be Auctioned

The Guardian reports that a very rare copy of Christopher Saxton's atlas - "the first printed atlas of England and Wales, made up of two fabulously rare sets of Tudor maps bound in a sensational volume" - bound with Giovanni Battista Boazio's hand-colored "charts of Sir Francis Drake's expedition to the West Indies with the first printed plan of any American city," will be sold at Sotheby's in London on March 15.

The atlas was commissioned by William Cecil, treasurer and adviser to Elizabeth I. "Estimates suggest it will fetch up to £700,000. It will be the ninth sale from the Macclesfield library, a collection assembled for the earls of Macclesfield at Shirburn castle in Oxfordshire, and completed by 1750.

The library was broken up in the last century, its rare books having sat mostly untouched and in pristine condition on the shelves for more than 200 years. The Macclesfield Psalter, one of the finest English medieval illuminated manuscripts, was bought by the Fitzwilliam museum in Cambridge after a £1.7m national appeal blocked its export."