Described by John Norden..augmented by I. Speed And are to be solde by G.Humble. Cum Privilegio. Jodocus Hondius caelavit. Copper engraving printed by John Dawson with later hand colouring. Overall size : 54.4cms x 41.2cms. Image size : 510mm x 382mm. English text to verso. Town plan of Colchester surmounted by coins bearing the heads of the Emperor Constantine and his parents Constantius and Helena, all Romans born in Britain. The left hand side depicts the arms of the Earles of Essex. London is shown bottom left and Tottenham,Newington, Hackney and Straffford Bow, Blackwall also marked. Centre fold as published. Small archival repair top and bottom centrefold on verso (in margin only) else very good condition indeed.
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 subsidise 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 Speed’s maps are unique historical documents of their time and the town plans featured on the maps are in most cases the first information we have of their early appearance.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 importance and their artistry have guaranteed the collectability of these maps in the centuries that have followed.
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