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Maps by John Speed

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John Speed (1552-1629) is arguably the most famous English cartographer of any period, as a result of his atlas The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine. The individual maps are the best known and among the most sought-after of all county maps.  The maps themselves were derived from the best and most up- to-date sources available. However, Speed also made innovations of his own - introducing town plans on many of the maps, including county boundaries on almost all maps and also the coats of arms of local Earls and Dukes as well the Royal arms. The overall effect is to produce very decorative, attractive and informative maps. 

Speed, a tailor’s son from Cheshire, conceived the Theatre Of The Empire Of Great Britain as a supplementary volume to his monumental History of Great Britain published in 1611. Finally published as a complete work in 1612, the atlas was the culmination of several years work during which pre-existing maps by Saxton and Norden were updated, information was gathered and collated, and new surveys were completed before the plates were engraved, mainly by Jodocus Hondius of Amsterdam. Many of the maps bear earlier dates and would have been available for sale as loose sheets prior to the completion of the atlas.
 
Text on the reverse describes that county, its industry and agriculture, its physical features and history. One Latin text edition was published in 1616, targeting the continental market, otherwise the several editions published before Speed’s death had English text.
 
Early editions of the Theatre Of The Empire Of Great Britain were published by John Sudbury and George Humble, who realised, given the increasing popularity of both county and world atlases and in the light of the success of Ortelius’s Theatrum …, the potential demand for an English world atlas. Consequently, in 1627, Speed’s Prospect Of The Most Famous Parts Of The World was published with 21 finely engraved maps.
 
The Prospect ...was the first world atlas by an Englishman, and its maps are famous for their bordering panels of national characters in local costume and panoramic views depicting the areas of major towns and cities.  In addition to the obvious decorative quality of the maps, regular atlas copies have two pages of English text printed on the reverse, giving a charming description of life in the early seventeenth century of the area shown. The maps of the world and America show California as an island and are amongst the earliest ever printed to depict this seventeenth-century cartographic “fact”.
 
By the time of the publication of the Prospect … in 1627, John Sudbury had retired from the partnership with George Humble, and, after his death in 1640, the copperplates were in possession of his son, William Humble. William continued publication on a rather ad hoc basis before relinquishing rights to William Garrett who, in turn, passed the plates to Roger Rea. William made some changes to the dates on some of the plates but issued only small numbers of any edition of the atlas.

Europe Maps   America Maps   English County Maps B-K   English County Maps L-Y   Title Pages  

Europe Maps

Europ, ...
Europ, ...

By J. Speed of London, 1627-1676, copperplate, coloured, 395 by 510mm (15.5 by 20 inches). mm

Ref: 44073

Price: £ 2400

The Mape Of Hungari ...
The Mape Of Hungari ...

By J. Speed of London, 1627, copperplate, uncoloured, 390 by 510mm (15.25 by 20 inches). mm

Ref: 42256

Price: £ 1400

America Maps

A Map Of New England And New York
A Map Of New England And New York

By J. Speed / F. Lamb of London, 1676, copperplate, coloured, 375 by 495mm (14.75 by 19.5 inches). mm

Ref: 44072

Price: £ 4800

A Map Of Virginia And Maryland
A Map Of Virginia And Maryland

By J. Speed of London, 1676, copperplate, coloured, 375 by 480mm (14.75 by 19 inches). mm

Ref: 44071

Price: £ 4500

English County Maps B-K

Barkshire Described
Barkshire Described

By J. Speed / C. Dicey of London, 1612 - c. 1770, Copperplate, coloured, 385 by 510mm (15.25 by 20 inches). mm

Ref: 41404

Price: £ 750

Buckingham Both Shyre, And Shire Towne ...
Buckingham Both Shyre, And Shire Towne ...

By J. Speed of London, 1612-c.1740, copperplate, coloured, 380 by 500mm (15 by 19.75 inches). mm

Ref: 44052

Price: £ 500

The Bishopricke And Citie Of Durham
The Bishopricke And Citie Of Durham

By J. Speed of London, 1612-c.1616, Copperplate, coloured, 385 by 510mm (15.25 by 20 inches). mm

Ref: 44013

Price: £ 750

Wight Island
Wight Island

By J. Speed of London, 1612-1676, copperplate, coloured, 390 by 510mm (15.25 by 20 inches). mm

Ref: 43423

Price: £ 800

English County Maps L-Y

Leicester Both Countye And Citie Described ...
Leicester Both Countye And Citie Described ...

By J. Speed of London, 1612-c.1616, Copperplate, coloured, 385 by 510mm (15.25 by 20 inches). mm

Ref: 44012

Price: £ 650

Northumberland
Northumberland

By J. Speed of London, 1612-1616, copperplate, uncoloured, 380 by 510mm (15 by 20 inches). mm

Ref: 39668

Price: £ 1200

Rutlandshire With Oukham And Stanford ...
Rutlandshire With Oukham And Stanford ...

By J. Speed of London, 1612-1646, copperplate, coloured, 380 by 500mm (15 by 19¾ inches). mm

Ref: 33879

Price: £ 560

Stafford Countie And Towne With The Ancient Citie Lichfield ...
Stafford Countie And Towne With The Ancient Citie Lichfield ...

By J.Speed of London, 1612-1646, copperplate, coloured, 380 x 500 mm

Ref: 33870

Price: £ 850

The Countie Westmorland And Kendale The Chief Towne Described ...
The Countie Westmorland And Kendale The Chief Towne Described ...

By J. Speed of London, 1612-c.1616, Copperplate, uncoloured, 385 by 510mm (15.25 by 20 inches). mm

Ref: 40049

Price: £ 850

Wilshire
Wilshire

By J. Speed of London, 1612-c.1616, Copperplate, uncoloured, 385 by 510mm (15.25 by 20 inches). mm

Ref: 40048

Price: £ 1000

Title Pages

[Title-Page] The Theatre Of The Empire Of Great Britaine ...
[Title-Page] The Theatre Of The Empire Of Great Britaine ...

By R. White / J. Speed of London, 1612-1627, copperplate, coloured, 245 by 380mm (9.75 by 15 inches). mm

Ref: 43888

Price: £ 450

... Dieu Et Mon Droit ... King Charles The IId. ...
... Dieu Et Mon Droit ... King Charles The IId. ...

By J. Speed / Bassett & Chiswell of London, 1676, copperplate, coloured, 235 by 375mm (9.25 by 14.75 inches). mm

Ref: 44039

Price: £ 380