Code: 53438


Author: Speed, John

Publisher: Sudbury and Humble

Date published: 1611

Copper engraving with later hand colouring. Overall sheet size: 5307cms x 41.2cms. Image size: 506mm x 378mm. 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 (it being the climatic battle of the Wars of the Roses in 1485). Pinholes top and bottom of centrefold as is usual with a First Edition, thought to be a direction for the binder. English text on verso and index to place names left side verso. Overall toning; short repaired split bottom centrefold and some four chips to margin edges; odd mark verso else rare 1st edition with very attractive hand colouring heightened with gold in good condition. Unfortunately, there are no surviving records of how many examples of the First Edition (or indeed of any edition) of John Speed's maps were printed. One might speculate that the First Edition could have numbered between about five hundred and one thousand examples. It should be remembered that market for maps was not well developed in England in 1612. This, together with the cost of the atlas, the need for a second edition soon afterwards, and the high quality of impressions from the third, Latin text, edition of 1616, suggests that the first print-run may have been closer to five hundred copies or so. Unfortunately, until an attempt is made at a census of surviving examples, these figures can be regarded as only the roughest of estimates. Ashley Baynton-Williams see http://www.mapforum.com/02/speed.htm