A composite book which has never been fully identified. In the 1950s it was exhibited at Radley described as
Turkish or Arabic manuscript [which] cannot be earlier than c1680 because of the geographical knowledge shown in some of the maps … If any visitor can give further information … we would be very grateful.
The text is in Ottoman Turkish and is printed on paper with a European watermark dating from the mid- to late-seventeenth century. Western European-style woodcuts are incorporated into the text. The text is outlined with a gold-leaf margin, the woodcuts hand-coloured, and there are some manuscript Islamic-style decorations on the opening leaves. Some leaves have been dyed pale green/blue, yellow, or orange. Four double sheets of printed maps, later hand-coloured, have been inserted into the text. The book is bound in a typical Islamic envelope binding of card covered in watered paper decorated with embossed leather cartouches.The book is a survey of geographical exploration and history. The largest insert shows the Ptolemaic system with the Earth at the centre of the solar system, surrounded in turn by the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn (neither with moons or rings), and the constellations of the Zodiac. Two other maps, taken from printed pocket atlases, depict the known world. Both include the north and south coasts of Australia, whilst the earlier shows North America with a clear Northwest Passage and California as a separate island, and the later map shows the same area as a single landmass stretching to the cost of Russia, still with island California. Antarctica is shown as a large landmass on both. Both use Mercator’s projection introduced in the 1580s. None of these can give a conclusive date to the book, since the reprinting of out-of-date maps was a notorious practice throughout the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The woodcuts appear to come from a European bestiary or book of travellers’ tales. They include mermen, griffins, a European city with inhabitants dressed in seventeenth century style, and several images of ‘savage’ inhabitants of newly discovered or far distant lands shown either wholly or semi-naked. None of these help to date the book more precisely than the later half of the seventeenth century, possibly no earlier than 1680, certainly not after 1700.
Inside the upper board is the early nineteenth century bookplate of Temple Hardy Esq., of Eastley End House, Surrey. Temple Hardy was a naval officer who commanded the Echo at the Cape of Good Hope in 1795. A quitclaim dated 1804 gives his address as Eastley End House, formerly of Rawlins, Oxfordshire. He was then the only surviving son of Sir Charles Hardy, Admiral of the Fleet and commander of the Channel Fleet from the Victory in 1779. Sir Charles Hardy moved to Rawlins when it was inherited by his second wife, Catherine Stanyan, Temple Hardy’s mother, in 1752. Catherine Stanyan was the daughter of Temple Stanyan, a noted historian who served as Under-Secretary of State for both Addison and Newcastle, and at the Embassy to the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople. Temple Stanyan, in his turn, inherited Rawlins and its contents from his brother, Abraham Stanyan, in 1732. Abraham Stanyan served as a secretary to Sir William Trumbull in the Embassy at Contantinople from 1687-1691. He was 17 when he first took up the post. In later life he became a prominent Whig and a member of the Kit-Kat Club, and was appointed Ambassador to the Austro-Hungarian Empire at Vienna in 1715. He was then sent to negotiate a peace between the Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman Empires as Ambassador to Constantinople in 1717.It is quite possible, therefore, that this book was bought when it was new by Abraham Stanyan as a young man and bequeathed by successive owners of Rawlins to Temple Hardy. There is no indication at all how it came into Radley’s possession although analysis of a note inside indicates that it has certainly been here since the later nineteenth century.