Copper engraving with later hand colouring.Overall size : 54.6cms.x 41.3cms. Large strapwork title cartouche incorporating the Royal Arms and the Arms of Wales (which are still used by the present Prince of Wales when he is in Wales). Town plan of Cardigan within a strapwork carouche from which is suspended a compass rose with the Prince of Wales Feathers inset. Scale of distance in cartouche at bottom of the map. Arms of Thomas Brudenel, Inset town plan of Cardigan. Three ships and two sea monsters. English text to verso. Overall browning to front and back else good strong impression in excellent condition apart from stain from old tape at top of top margin.
Until his late thirties, John Speed was a tailor by trade but his passion for history and map-making led him to gain a patron in Sir Fulke Greville, the poet and statesman, who found him a post in the customs and helped subsidize his map-making, giving him “full liberty to express the inclination of my mind”. He became acquainted with the publisher William Camden, whose descriptive text was used by Speed for most of the maps in his atlas “The Theatre of Empire of Great Britain” published most probably in 1612 although it bears the date 1611 on the main title page. The maps were engraved in Amsterdam by Jodocus Hondius, one of the foremost engravers of his time. Speed’s maps are unique historical documents of their time and the town plans featured on the maps are in most cases the first information we have of their early appearance. Their artistry has guaranteed the collectability of these maps in the centuries that have followed.
This map was engraved by Jodocus Hondius with his characteristic shot silk sea. (A highly skilled engraver, Jodocus Hondius arrived in England from Ghent in 1583-84 as a refugee. Hondius, a Flemish Protestant, left Ghent when the Southern Netherlands were taken back under the control of Catholic Spain.)
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