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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 January 2007, 00:45 GMT
Historic sea map set for auction
Nicolay Rutter
The map was said to be a great advance in cartography
A historic map of Scotland is to be auctioned in Edinburgh.

The Nicolay Rutter is said to be the oldest accurate chart of the country. It was made from a voyage King James V took around Scotland in 1540.

The rutter, which goes on sale on 10 January, is expected to fetch more than 12,000 because of its importance to map making and political history.

There are several copies of the rutter in existence but the sale is expected to interest international collectors.

Auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull said the rutter, which takes its name from the French word routier, is a set of sailing directions.

The voyage of James V named on the title-page is that of 1540, when the king, with several nobles, set out to subdue the unruly lords of the Western Isles.

'True originator'

The king visited Orkney, Skye, Lewis, Ross and Kintail and continued by sea to Dumbarton, where he left his fleet and rode back to Edinburgh.

The true originator of the work was Alexander Lyndsay.

It was copied by Nicolas de Nicolay, a French map-maker.

Lyon and Turnbull said that although the printed map was dated 1583, Nicolay said that he obtained the original manuscript map in 1546.

The rutter was said to be mysteriously obtained in manuscript by the English, copied by Nicolay and taken to the French king.

It was then put into almost immediate use to avenge the murder of Cardinal Beaton at St Andrews.

According to the sale catalogue, Nicolay's map marks a great advance in the cartography of Scotland.

It says: "Not only is the shape of Scotland shown with considerable accuracy, but it is much more accurate than the later Gordon-Blaeu map of 1654 or the Moll map of 1714."


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