Ryther, Augustine (DNB00)

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RYTHER, AUGUSTINE (fl. 1576–1590), engraver, one of the earliest English exponents of the art of engraving on copper, was a native of Leeds in Yorkshire, and a fellow-townsman of Christopher Saxton [q. v.] He was probably an offshoot of the old and knightly family of Ryther in Yorkshire. Ryther was associated with Saxton in engraving some of the famous maps of the counties of England published by Saxton in 1579. His name appears as the engraver of the maps of Durham and Westmoreland (1576), Gloucester and York (1577), and that of the whole of England, signed ‘Augustinus Ryther Anglus Sculpsit Ano Dñi 1579.’ His name appears in 1588 with those of Jodocus Hondius [q. v.], Theodore de Bry, and others, among the engravers of the charts to ‘The Mariner's Mirrour … first made and set fourth in divers exact sea charts by that famous nauigator Luke Wagenar of Enchuisen, and now fitted with necessarie additions for the use of Englishmen by Anthony Ashley.’ In 1590 Ryther published a translation of Petruccio Ubaldini's ‘Expeditionis Hispaniorum in Angliam vera Descriptio,’ under the title of ‘A discourse concerninge the Spanishe fleete inuadinge Englande in the yeare 1588, and overthrowne by her Maties Nauie under the conduction of the Right honorable the Lorde Charles Howarde, highe Admirall of Englande, written in Italian by Petruccio Ubaldino, citizen of Florence, and translated for A. Ryther: unto the wch discourse are annexed certaine tables expressinge the seuerall exploites and conflictes had with the said fleete. These bookes, with the tables belonginge to them, are to be solde at the shoppe of A. Ryther, beinge a little from Leadenhall, next to the signe of the Tower.’ The book was printed by A. Hatfield. This work is dedicated by Ryther to Lord Howard of Effingham, and in the dedication he alludes to the time spent by him in engraving the plates, and apologises for the two years' delay in its publication. In a letter to the reader, Ryther asks for indulgence ‘because I count my selfe as yet but a yoong beginner.’ The plates consist of a title and ten charts, showing the various stages of the progress and defeat of the Spanish Armada in the Channel, and tracing its further course round the British Isles. They were drawn out, as it appears, by Robert Adams (d. 1595) [q. v.], surveyor of the queen's buildings, and form the most important record of the Spanish Armada which exists. It is probable that Ryther's charts, or Adams's original drawings, were the basis for the tapestries of the Spanish Armada, executed by Hendrik Cornelisz Vroom in Holland, and formerly in the House of Lords. Reduced copies of Ryther's charts were published by John Pine [q. v.] in his work on the Armada tapestries. The ‘tables’ were published by Ryther separately from the book, and are very scarce.

[Ames's Typogr. Antiq. ed. Herbert; Thoresby's Vic. Leod. 1724, p. 90; Boyne's York. Libr. p. 266.]

L. C.