OUT OF THE ASHES

CON­SER­VA­TORS AT THE NA­TIONAL LI­BRARY OF SCOT­LAND HAVE PAINSTAK­INGLY RE­STORED A RARE 17TH CEN­TURY MAP OF THE WORLD THAT WAS DIS­COV­ERED UP A CHIM­NEY IN AN ABERDEEN HOUSE

SCOTS Heritage Magazine - - Contents -

The rare 17th cen­tury world map dis­cov­ered in an Aberdeen chim­ney

At first glance it looked like a bun­dle of rags, scrunched up into a ball, en­crusted with dirt and eaten by in­sects. It had been stuffed up a chim­ney as a makeshift draft ex­cluder and was dis­cov­ered dur­ing the ren­o­va­tion of a house in Aberdeen.

But when con­ser­va­tion staff at the Na­tional Li­brary of Scot­land took a closer look, they dis­cov­ered that the bun­dle of rags was in fact a rare, late 17th cen­tury map by the cel­e­brated Dutch en­graver Ger­ald Valck and pub­lished by Lon­don map­maker Ge­orge Wildey. Thought to date to around 1690, the large 2.2m x 1.6m wide map fea­tures im­ages of Wil­liam III and his wife Queen Mary II, the joint mon­archs of Eng­land, Scot­land and Ire­land.

There are only two known copies of the map in the world. A sim­i­lar map from the same pe­riod can be seen in the fa­mous paint­ing by Ver­meer, Painter in his Stu­dio. This one was likely to have been owned by some­one of im­por­tance and would have been hung on a wall for vis­i­tors to ad­mire.

The owner re­mains a mys­tery, as does the iden­tity of the per­son who de­liv­ered the map to the mu­seum in a poly bag. www.nls.uk

They dis­cov­ered that the bun­dle of rags was in fact a rare, late 17th cen­tury map

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