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Barkshire Described

Barkshire Described : J. Speed

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A rare, early printing of John Speed's renowned map of the county of Berkshire. He omits a plan of county capital Reading in favour of a panorama of Windsor Castle, shown above the map. A cartouche to the left lists the founding members of the Order of the Garter in 1350, and to the right is a portrait of James I in Garter robes. This finely engraved and detailed map is one of the most sought after of the county and was produced by John Speed, historian, genealogist and cartographer for publication in his "... Theatre Of The Empire Of Great Britain ..." – the first atlas of the British Isles. The copperplate, engraved in the workshop of Amsterdam master map engraver, Jodocus Hondius, was first printed in atlas form in 1612 and remained in use, with amendments and alterations to publishers' imprints until late into the following century. Later printings, from an old and worn plate, are notably inferior whereas this example shows the engraving at its freshest on good quality paper. Speed's county maps were, and remain, amongst the most popular and sought-after on account of their vignettes often showing historical events, archaeological relics, portraits and explanatory notations. Most have the arms of local dignitaries and town plans, in many cases the first of those locations and surveyed by Speed himself. Speed had prepared the maps, for engraving, before about 1610, and they first appeared in atlas form two years later. Minor repairs to left and right margins and centrefold wormholes, nevertheless, a very attractive example.
region: Berkshire
mapmaker: J. Speed  
place and date of publication: London 1612
medium and colour: Copperplate, Coloured
size in mm: 385 by 510mm (15.25 by 20 inches).
ref: 41498

Price: £ 850

 
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