Long title: Shropshyre Described The Sittuation of Shrowesbury Shewed With the Armes of thos Earles, and other Memorable things observed Copper engraving with later but not recent hand colouring. Overall sheet size : 52.8cms.x 40.2cms. Image size: 508mm x 382mm. Decorative cartouches containing county name and scale of distance at bottom left and right, respectively. Plan of the town of Shrowesbury (Shrewsbury) with key underneath. Bottom right battle scene of Olfeilde and description thereof underneath. English text to verso with index of places of interest and description of the county as usual. He describes it as ,’very fruitfull for life’ and ‘wholesome is the ayre, delectable and good ,yeelding the Spring and the Autumne, seed time and harvest, in a temperate condition and affordeth health to the Inhabitants in all seasons of the yeare’. He is full of praise for Shrowesburie, saying that it is ,’inferior to few of our Cities ‘ and that her ‘Citizens are rich’...fascinating reading. Centre fold as published. One small archival strengthening bottom of centrefold and top margin on verso; a little black smudging in right margin obviously occasioned during printing so a C17th flaw 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 Speed’s maps are unique historical documents of their time and the town plans featured on the maps are in most cases the first information we have of their early apppearance. Their artistry has guaranteed the collectability of these maps in the centuries that have followed.
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