Long title: Norfolk A countie florishing and populous described and devided with the armes of such Noble Families as have borne the titles therof. Copper engraving with later hand colouring. Overall size : 56.3cms x 44.1cms. Image size : 497mm x 378mm. Inset plan of Norwich with key below based on the plan by Braun and Hogenburg. The two great uprisings of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 and Ket’s Rebellion of 1547 are outlined in the box top left. Scale of distance at bottom centre. English text to verso with gazeteer of places and description of Norfolk which Speed attributes at the bottom of the page to Sir Henry Spelman, Knight . He also acknowledges his indebtedness to Christopher Saxton on the front of the map. These acknowledgements are unusual but Nigel Nicholson notes in his Counties of Britain by John Speed that they result in an unusually ‘accomplished delineation of the coastline, the course of rivers and the boundaries of the hundreds’. Speed notes on the verso that the :ayre is sharpe and piercing. Fascinating historical detail on verso with history and geographical description. Centre fold as published.
Browning and wavy tidemark to margins, chipping to bottom margin else very good condition and attractively coloured.
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 Speed’s maps are unique historical documents of their time and the town plans featured on the maps are in most cases the first information we have of their early apppearance. Their artistry has guaranteed the collectability of these maps in the centuries that have followed.
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