BOOK REVIEW | Jacques Devaulx, Nautical Works

By Élisabeth Hébert and Gerhard Holzer. Edited by Jean-Yves Sarazin.

Taschen has just released an extra large coffee table book about 16th century Le Havre pilot Jacques Devaulx, who was commissioned by the Duke of Joyeuse to produce an illustrated manuscript summarising the naval knowledge of the times, from astronomy and cartography to nautical charts and navigational tools and techniques.

Illustrated throughout, the manuscript is both a fascinating insight into nautical Europe in a time of amazing feats of seamanship, and also a work of art in itself.

Ending with a beautiful, high-quality, full reproduction of the volume in question, a helpful glossary and summary of each page makes working through the 31 folios easy and informative.

The first half of the book comprises a number of essays by experts in their respective fields that place the original manuscript in context, discussing the historical, political and religious influences of the day, followed by very interesting analyses of particular features of the work including iconography and cartography.

As with many Taschen publications, Nautical Works contains the full text in German and French as well as English. A fascinating and gorgeously presented volume, it would make a fine addition to any nautical-themed library.

Available from Taschen, Cologne, Germany.


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