Long title: Hereford-shire with the true plot of the citie of Hereford as also the armes of thos Nobles as have been entitled with that dignitye. Copper engraving with early hand colouring.Overall size : 54.3cms.x 42cms. Image size : 510mm.x 390mm. Title in cartouche, town plan of Hereford. Battle of Ludford Bridge included (which was actually fought in Shropshire). English text on verso. Highly unusually this map is red ruled. The ruling in red of a book (it was an essential part of manuscript production in the middle ages), had come to be a costly extra process by the second half of the 17th century, and one that was reserved for items that were intended for presentation. This map is red ruled both on the front and the back of the map. Archival repair 8.5cms on verso of centrefold strengthening a short split and 3.5cms top of map at top of centrefold else very good condition.
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 aquainted 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 Speed’s maps are unique historical documents of their time and the town plans featured on the maps are in most cases the first information we have of their early appearance.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.
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