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Long title:Caermarden Both Shyre and Towne described. Copper engraving, later but not mordern hand colouring. Overall size : 55cms.x 42cms. Image size : 500mm.x 377mm. Title in cartouche surmounted by the royal lion and unicorn. Scale of miles and town plan of Caermarden. English text to verso describing the county and how they glory in ‘Merlin who (as they say) was therein borne the sonne of a bad Angell, or of an Incubus spirit, the Britaines great Apolo...’. Centre fold as issued. Small area of waterstaining bottom left corner and top left corner, extreme tips missing right top and bottom; two small holes in margin well away from map area; one small brown spot to left of scale of miles 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 Speed’s maps are unique historical documents of their time and the town plans featured on the maps are in most cases the first information we have of their early apppearance.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.