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Long title:Sussex. Described and divided into Rapes with the situation of Chichester the chiefe citie thereof . And the armes of such Nobles as have bene dignified with the title of Earles since the conquest and other accidents therein observed. Described by John Norden. Augmented by John Speede And are to be sold in popes head Alley against the Exchange by I.S. and George Humble. Copper engraving with later hand colouring. Overall size: 55.3cms x 41.8cms. Image size: 506mm x 384 mm. English text verso. Very attractive map with town plan of Chichester , four armorials in decorative border at the bottom; royal coat of arms top right and sea with sailing ships (the fleet of William the Conqueror) and gambolling monsters. Also history of the landing of William the Bastard in 1066 in box bottom right. The English text on verso gives a history of the county and an extensive list of towns and villages. SKELTON: 18. Speed comments on the inadequacy of Sussex roads, saying that they were ,' ill in winter'. One minute worm hole to the left of the scale of miles, only noticeable when held up to the light; two small strengthenings top and bottom of centrefield and another at bottom of map and just touching the margin of the box with the shields in; faint early handwriting to right margin, listing three names? Strong impression with very attractive later but not recent hand colouring. A desirable map in 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 Speed’s maps are unique historical documents of their time and the town plans featured on the maps are in most cases the first information we have of their early apppearance.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.