Rare English edition of Colom's Mediterranean Sea pilot
By COLOM, Arnold , 1660

Lighting Colom of the Midland-Sea Containing a Description of all the knowne Coast, Islands, Sands, Depthes, and Roads, begining from the narrowest, of the Streat, unto Alexandrette in the Levant.

  • Author: COLOM, Arnold
  • Publication place: Amsterdam
  • Publisher: By Arnold Colom, for John Tuthill, Book-seller in Great Yarmouth, and to be sold by Severall, Bookesellers in London
  • Publication date: 1660.
  • Physical description: Folio (420 by 375mm), engraved title, nineteen double-page engraved charts, numerous woodcut charts and coastal profiles within text, contemporary English panelled calf, rebacked.
  • Inventory reference: 12858


Arnold Colom, the son of Jacob Colom, was, like his father, a bookseller, printer, and chartmaker. He would appear to have produced only two maritime atlases throughout his career: a pilot of the Mediterranean, and a sea atlas of the world. The reasons for this are unclear, although, with the market so dominated by the likes of Janssonius, Goos, and Doncker, his work might have struggled to secure a foothold.

Both Arnold and his father Jacob, produced pilots of the Mediterranean. However, when Arnold published his pilot in 1660 he chose not to reuse his father’s copper plates, instead cutting new plates at the behest of John Tuthill, an English bookseller from Yarmouth. The contract that they signed survives, and states that Colom was to deliver 500 Strait-books unbound to John Tuthill at 45 pennies a piece; one hundred of which were to be sold by Colom. A penalty of 500 guilders was set out for both parties if the contract was breached: Tuthill for commissioning another chartseller to produce a Straitsbook; and Colom for printing more than the agreed amount. The work was to be sold for no less than six guilders for the period of the 12 year contract.

A notary act of 1664 goes into some detail regarding the originality of Colom’s Mediterranean pilot. Arnold states that his father, Jacob, had previously supplied Tuthill with pilots of the Mediterranean. However, when Jacob was contacted by Tuthill in 1660, he was unable to fulfil the order and referred Tuthill to his son, who agreed to cut new plates and provide a new translation of the text.

Rare. Koeman records only three institutional examples of this edition: the Bodleian Library; the National Maritime Museum; and the Admiralty Library, Portsmouth.


  1. Koeman, IV, A. Col 4.

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