BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
Beinecke MS 565
England, c. 1603-1604
George Waymouth, The jewell of artes, in English
Restricted material. May not be seen without the permission of the appropriate curator.
1. ff. 5r-6r The jewell of artes. Devided into seaven bookes. In the first whereof as well the
auntient instrumentes of navigation newly corrected are most plainely described by
demonstrative figures, as other more exact not before knowne ... In the seaventh the excellentest
instrumentes for gunners arte that ever were devised ... Whereunto is added a breefe table for
the findeing of the cubique and square with many other necessarie conclusions serving to many
right excellent uses.
Survey of the content of art. 4.
2. ff. 7r-9r To the most highe and mightie prince James, by the grace of God King of
England, Scotland, France and Ireland, defender of the faythe. Most high and mightie prince
and my most dread soveraine lorde, I having begune this my present booke and inlarged it so farr
untyll necessitie constrained me to stay my pin, skale and compasse and looke to the maintenance
of my charge. Then musing with myself to whom I might dedicate the same, because it may in
some pointes yett seeme unperfect ... to heape glorie, wealth and honour uppon thee all raigning
on earth, and to crowne thee with everlasting happinesse in the life to come. Your majestie
obedient subject George Waymouth.
Letter of dedication to King James I of England (1603-1625).
3. ff. 10r-21r The preface to the reader. It were much to wishe that all those that doe undertake
to make discovery of any straunge countries or passages had some skill in all these artes
comprehende in this my present booke ... then lett them wishe me at the least rewarded with the
meanest and thankefullie except of these my labours, which if they do I shall the more willinglie
undertake some other woorke to theire further benefite.
Preface, containing a self-defence of the author and details about his work, intentions, career and
unsuccessful attempt to discover the Northwest Passage.
4. ff. 22r-569r The first booke consisteth of diverse instrumentes for navigation ... [f.
23r:] It can not be denied but that by the arte of navigation doth arise unto this whole ilande not
only greate fame and renowne, but such infinite wealth and abundance of all kinde of comodities
George Waymouth (fl. 1587-1611), The jewell of artes, an unfinished technical handbook of
navigation, inventions, fortifications, surveying, gunnery, etc., consisting of short textual parts
and extremely numerous full-page technical drawings and diagrams of high quality. The
innumerable blank pages throughout the book show that this is a work in progress, which the
author had to abandon as explained in his letter of dedication, and nevertheless presented to the
King in the hope of obtaining new employment.
Book I (f. 22r) contains pictures of the instruments of navigation: astrolabe, cross-staff, quadrant,
compass, equinoctial dial and many others in many variants, including volvelles, and the
methods for making calculations using them.
Book II (f. 198r) deals with ship-building and is illustrated with geometrical diagrams, transverse
sections, and constructional designs.
Book III (f. 250r) describes with many illustrations the making of newly invented engines: an
armoured car, a gun-boat moved by paddle-wheels, a turning gun-turret allowing a small number
of men to prevent a ship from being taken, etc.
Book IV (f. 290r) is dedicated to surveying and the instruments and methods used in it, also for
measuring the altitude of buildings.
Book V (f. 342r) studies fortifications and the techniques of siege, mines and undermining; it
is illustrated with geometrical designs, plans and views of castles and cities, and designs for
Book VI (f. 438r) deals with ordnance and carriages for guns "newly invented", but is not
Book VII (f. 458r) is dedicated to the calculation of guns and ballistics, their methods and
instruments, arithmetics and geometry for gunners, illustrated with diagrams and drawings and
including numerical tables of units, squares and cubes etc.
Paper, ff. 581, 310 x 205 mm.
Collation impossible due to the tight binding.
In principle only one side of the leaves has been used (normally the recto side). The text pages or
those intended to receive text have frame-ruling in ink for one column with double bounding-
lines and double horizontal through lines at top and bottom and are occasionally subdivided by
means of similar double lines. Width c. 130-135 mm.
Written by one hand in Gothica Cursiva Libraria (Secretary).
In the drawings, which are coloured or uncoloured and may feature volvelles, the buildings, guns
and engines are curiously executed as ornaments in a style which may recall romanesque or
Original armorial binding (rebacked): brown calf over cardboard, both covers gold-tooled with a
seme pattern of flowerets, corner pieces and a central piece with the arms of King James I. Spine
with six raised bands and red title-label with inscription "JEWELL OF ARTES".
About the author, a somewhat mysterious navigator, scholar and engineer, see Oxford Dictionary
of National Biography, v. 51 (2004), pp. 777-778. He returned in 1602 from his unsuccesful
expedition to discover the Northwest Passage, presented the King in 1604 with two versions of
his treatise The Jewell of Artes and undertook in 1605 a new expedition to the American East
coast, landing in Maine. In our manuscript the year 1604 is found in a calculation on f. 131r, the
year 1603 is written on a compass-card on f. 335r. Many designs are marked with the letter "W",
and there is no doubt that the author claims their invention for himself.
Library of King James I. The Henry C. Taylor Collection. Bequest of Henry C. Taylor, 1971.
Bibliography: Taylor Collection, no. 10.