Long title:Suffolke described and divided into Hundreds, The situation of the fayre towne Ipswich showed, with the Armes of the most noble families that have bene either Dukes, or Earles both of that Countie as also of Clare. Copper engraving with later hand colouring. Overall sheet size: 55.7cms x 43.6cms ; image size: 506mm x 377mm. Inset plan of Ipswiche ( The inset town plan of Ipswich, surveyed by Speed himself, is the earliest known of Ipswich)within a highly decorative strapwork cartouche with two figures (Boadacia and Pet. Cerealis) ; royal coat of arms top left and each side is decorated with five heraldic shields. Two putti bottom left and right: one holding the compass rose and one measuring the scale of miles. A large sailing ship sails off Orford Haven. English text on verso: Speed deemed Suffolk a county: Most plenteous and pleasant for habitation and Ipswich itself:blessed with commerce and buildings, she might worthily have borne the title of a city. In all he says that : in a word (ther is) nothing wanting for pleasure or profit. Hairline crack 5 cms bottom margin but not an actual split ; small edge tear to left of centrefold
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 Speed’s maps are unique historical documents of their time and the town plans featured on the maps are in most cases the first information we have of their early apppearance.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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