Italian Paleography


Chicago, Newberry Library, VAULT folio Case MS 5345
Robert Dudley
Robert Dudley Letter
Florence, March 12, 1643

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On March 12, 1643 Robert Dudley (b. 1574) wrote to Benedetto Guerrini, a chamberlain of Medici Grand Duke Ferdinando II, about the status of his forthcoming sea atlas, the Arcano del Mare.  In the letter Dudley explains multiple problems with the publication.  First there are paper shortages.  Then he complains of the slowness of the Florentine publisher Francesco Rondinelli and of the Florentine engraver Anton Francesco Lucini.  Finally, he also gripes that Rondinelli would not allow the proofreader, with the help of his friend, Galileo’s pupil and Medici mathematician, Evangelista Torricelli, to correct the text.  
Indeed Dudley’s complaints here are justified since he had been compiling for decades his Arcano del Mare––_considered the first atlas to use Mercator’s projections and the most complete sea atlas of the world from the early modern period––and was eager to see it published.  His work likely began on the atlas before his move to Florence in 1606.  Born in England, Dudley was the illegitimate son of Robert Dudley, who was a favorite of Elizabeth I.  The younger Dudley ultimately spent several years in the mid 1590s exploring the West Indies and South America.  After being denied legitimacy from his father, he left his family in England and moved to Florence to serve first under Grand Duke Ferdinando I and then Cosimo II and Ferdinando II.  This so-called “exile” was his most stable and productive period, where he devoted himself to shipbuilding in Livorno, to advising the Medici on their seafaring activities, and to the writing of his _Arcano.


Corsiva (1643) usuale, minuta e dal tracciato aguzzo.
Da notare:  la p in un sol tempo con asta raddoppiata (r. 7: pare); la z sul rigo (r. 7 mezzo) ma anche in un sol tratto che scende sotto (r. 22: espedizione); il legamento t r e (r. 4: tre).

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