Drayton, Michael-Poly-Olbion (Glamorganshire/ Monmouthshire)
Considered the most decorative of the uncommon and unusual Drayton maps - political boundaries are ignored and instead the focus is on natural features, with hills and rivers populated by allegorical figures. Only major towns are marked. Of particular interest is the competition between the orchestras of Wales and England for the control of Lundy, judged by Neptune riding a sea-monster. Copper engraving with later hand colouring. Engraved by William Hole. Glamorgan, Monmouthshire, Brecknockshire, Somerset. And the Severn Estuary .Overall size : 31.6 cms.x 24.4cms. Image size : 313mm.x 243mm. Central crease as issued; watermarked paper; margins trimmed to thread and to the neatline top right ; six small remnants of old tape on verso else good condition. Highly decorative and desirable map.
Born at Hartshill in Warwickshire, Michael Drayton, a friend of Shakespeare, was primarily a poet and in 1612 published his major work : ‘Poly-Olbion or Chorographical Description of all the Tracts, Rivers, Mountains, Forests and other parts of the Renowned Isle of Great Britain’. This work consisted of a collection of songs together with 18 maps (a second edition was published with an additional 12 maps) engraved by William Hole. While these maps are of various regions they could not be said to be accurate, being more inclined to fantasy rather than geography. The main features of the maps are the rivers and tributaries which are populated with nymphs and deities. Shepherds stand atop hills and towns and cities are symbolised by elaborately dressed figures with castles or spires on their heads. So, while they may not be terribly useful as maps they are certainly very attractive and entertaining.