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Long title:Dorsetshyre With the Shyre towne Dorchester described, as also the Armes of such nble families as have bene honored with the Titles there of since the Normans Conquest to this present Anno 1610. Copper engraving with later hand colouring. Initial letter indicating that it is printed by John Dawson in 1627. Overall size: 54.8cms x 41.8cms. Image size: 505mm x 383mm engraved by Jodocus Hondius. This is one of Speed’s most stunning maps abounding in decorative detail with monsters, ships , mermen and armorials . The sea is hatched in distinctive Hondius fashion. The town plan of Dorchester is large and commanding, top left and is the earliest known of Dorchester and may well have been surveyed by Speed himself. English text to verso describing the history and geography of the county. One small archival strengthening 2cms to the left of the centrefold on verso else very good condition indeed. See images.
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 Speed’s maps are unique historical documents of their time and the town plans featured on the maps are in most cases the first information we have of their early apppearance.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.