The Armada charts from Expeditionis Hispanorum in Angliam vera descriptio Anno Do:MDLXXXVIII
1590 Augustine Ryther (fl.1576-95), after Robert Adams (1540-95)

The Armada charts accompanied a brief history of the campaign written by the Florentine Petruccio Ubaldini. This account was in its turn based on Howard's own record of the battle, so the plates are a visual record of the 'official' story.  This set of plates is from the first state of the engravings: in the second state, a number of brief explanatory marks were added.

1: The Spanish fleet off the coast of Cornwall (29 July)
This plate represents the Armada sighting the Lizard: a Spanish zabra can be seen capturing the Flamouth fishing-boat off dodman Point, and the track of the golden Hind is shown, going into Plymouth with her warning message.
 
 
 

2: The Spanish and English fleets near Plymouth (30-31 July)
The English fleet is shown coming out of of Plymouth, the main body crossing ahead of the Armada, getting to windward and coming in from behind.  Inshore, the track of the ships that left after Howard is visible, tacking along the coast.   The action is shown up to 9 a.m. on 31 July, when Howard's pinance Disdain allegedly delivered the opening shot.  The Armada appears in full crescent formation, with galleasses on the wings, but this formation was not complete until 1 August.
 
 

3: The English engage the Spanish fleet near Plymouth (31 July)
The skirmish off Plymouth is shown on the left, with the English attacking the Spanish rearguard.  To the right is the pursuit by the English, with further ships issuing out of Plymouth to the north.  the four ships leaving the English formation to the south are led by the Revenge and are seen making for the small group of ships shown in the lower part of the picture.  These are the hulks which Drake alleged hewent to investigate, disobeying Howard's order to stay close to the Armada through the night.
 
 

4: The English pursue the Spanish fleet east of Plymouth (31 July - 1 August)
Here the Armada is pursued through the night at culverin range by Howard in the Ark Royal, with the Bear and Mary Rose (four ships are shown, apparantly in error). The rest of the English fleet, lacking Drake's light to follow, hangs a long way back. To the south can be seen Drake's capture of the Rosario on the morning of 1 August.
 
 

5: The fleets off Berry Head and the engagement near Portland Bill (1-2 August)
The scene on the left shows the English in chase, some ships taking possesion of the San Salvador (which blew up on the 31 July). To the right is the battle off Portland Bill, with the Triumph and other ships in action with the galleasses to the north and the main battle taking place to the south.
 
 

6: Engagment of the fleets between Portland Bill and the Isle of Wight (2-3 August)
This plate illustrates the continuation of the battle, and then takes the story forward to 3 August, when the English fleet was re-formed into four squadrons.
 
 

7: The battle off the Isle of Wight (4 August)
The plate shows some of the English ships being towed towards the Armada by boats, a tactic made necessary by the light wind.  Some of the Spanish vessels on the south wing of the Armada, where Drake attacked, have turned to face the English.
 
 

8: The voyage to Calais (4-6 August)
The voyage to Calais was relatively uneventful: Medina Sidonia was determined to reach Parma as soon as possible, and howard did not want to risk further action until he had been joined by Seymour. As in some of the other plates, ships can be seen leaving the English coast, evidently heading for the fray: the participation of these "voluntary ships" in the campaign was clearly regarded as worthy of note.  To the north-west, in the Narrow Seas, Seymour's squadron can be seen leaving the Downs to join Howard's force off Calais Cliffs.
 
 

9: The fireship attack (7 August)
The midnight attack with eight fireships served to disperse the Armada temporarily, and caused the Spanish fleet to lose many irreplaceable anchors and cables.  It was the single most successful attack by the English.
 
 

10: The battle off Gravelines (8 August)
This plate shows a number of the events of 8 August.  Off Calais, the boats of Howard's squadron can be seen attacking the galleass San Lorenzo, stranded after the fireship attack.  In their turn, the English are being fired on by the guns of Calais castle, which eventually drove them off.  To the north the main battle is under way, with a great deal of firing in progress, at least one Spanish ship sinking and three others heading towards the dangerous Flemish sandbanks.  However, the Armada has regrouped, and despite its stragglers, is proceeding up into the North Sea in a disciplined formation.



Armada 1588-1988. Penguin Books, 1988