Long title: The Counti of Warwick the Shire towne and citie of Coventre described. Copper engraving with later hand colouring. Two town plans of Warwick and Coventry. Overall size : 58.3cms x 44.2cms. Image size : 510mm x 383mm. Title in decorative cartouche surmounted by crowned lion, compass rose beneath. Scale of distance surmounted by dividers bottom left. Nine coats of arms bottom right, battle with text bottom right. Two remnants of old tape top of map verso from old framing; line around map from old mount and browning to margin 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 Speed’s maps are unique historical documents of their time and the town plans featured on the maps are in most cases the first information we have of their early apppearance.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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