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untitled - Somerset and Wiltshire

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untitled - Somerset and Wiltshire : M. Drayton

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Somerset and Wiltshire. Amongst the strangest and most decorative of early British maps are those engraved by William Hole for Michael Drayton's "Poly-Olbion" - Olbion meaning Albion, representing England under Elizabeth I. Drayton (1563-1631) was an English poet and play-write, at times close to the Elizabethan court amongst whose work was the lengthy "Poly-Olbion". The work was a series of fashionably romantic poems, or songs, extolling the beauties, myths and history of the English and Welsh countryside, and was first published in 1612 with a second, expanded edition of 1622. William Hole, who also engraved maps for Camden's "Britannia", was commissioned to provide the maps to illustrate these songs. Drayton stated that each map is "lively delineating ... every mountaine, forrest, river and valley; expressing in their sundry pastures; their loves, delights and naturall situations". Thus, it was clearly the intention to produce allegorical maps showing the natural topographical features of the county. As such very few towns or cities are shown on the maps and each feature is accompanied by an allegorical figure - hills are shown with shepherds, rivers with water nymphs, islands with goddesses, towns with female figures wearing mural crowns, or crowns alone used to denote London and royal palaces. Minor restoration to weak centrefold.
region: Somerset
mapmaker: M. Drayton  
place and date of publication: London 1612 - 1622
medium and colour: copperplate, Uncoloured
size in mm: 250 by 330mm (9.75 by 13 inches).
ref: 44347

Price: £ 350

 
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