Gabriel de Vallseca's 1439 Portolan Chart of is one of the most important examples of the medieval cartography of our country. It depicts the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North Africa. This piece is the oldest known by the Majorcan cartographer, who trained in the Majorcan School of Cartography founded by Jafudà Cresques.
The information it contains reflects the knowledge of the period with regard to physical geography (orography, hydrography, etc.), biological geography (flora and fauna) and political geography (notes on monarchs of various reigns, customs and other significant historical facts).
The chart bears an inscription on the verso stating it was purchased by Amerigo Vespucci circa 1480. Drawn on fine parchment, the manuscript was apparently purchased as a deluxe article rather than for its potential application to navigation.
In the first half of the 19th century, the chart was inherited by part of the Mallorcan Despuig lineage, namely the Counts of Montenegro of Mallorca. In the winter of 1838, the most renowned, if regrettable, episode in the chart's history took place, witnessed by George Sand and Fryderyk Chopin. (Learn more about this episode by downloading our PDF catalogue. Click here)
<<...Both are produced to the highest standard of quality; the chart facsimile in particular is impressive because of the effort made to reproduce the original, even to the small defects in the vellum. The colors of the facsimile appear to be true to life and the resolution of the image is sufficient to read the placenames and legends.>> , The PORTOLAN