Leicester by John Speed

Leicester by John Speed

Code: 56169

£250.00 Approx $316.46, €291.72

Date : 1611-27 (Sudbury and Humble but blank back )

Long title: Leicester both Countye and Citie described, The Honorable Famylies that have had the titles of Earls thereof .  With other accidents therein ofserved.  Copper engraving with very attractive later hand colouring.  Engraved by Jodocus Hondius.   Overall sheet size: 53.2cms x 42cms.   Image size: 498mm x 380mm.   Town plan of Leicester with key to the 34 chiefe place of the Citie above; royal coat of arms and 8 coats of arms below a brief history of the Countie and adjacent to a depiction of the battle of Bosworth : the last battail betwixt the familyes of York and Lancaster was fought . Blank back. Slight browning at centrefold.   Lined with Japanese paper, presumably to strengthen the map , there has been a split in the bottom margin and two  tiny chinks of light are visible at the centrefold if the map is held up to the light. Good strong impression with good margins.

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 Speed’s maps are unique historical documents of their time and the town plans featured on the maps are in most cases the first information we have of their early appearance.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.