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Copper engraving, original hand colouring. Uncommon Roger Rea edition. Overall size : 56.6cms.x 43.7cms. Decorative cartouche containing county name. Plans of Flint and Saint Asaph Scale of distance Illustration of St. Winifreds Well. English text on verso. Some marks in blank areas - please see photographs - some marks to margin, two small edge splits well away from map.. Huge monster surmounted with royal shield ; two battleships and a smaller monster in the Dee river. Very good condition apart from the spotting mentioned and with the uncommon original hand colouring.
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 Speed’s maps are unique historical documents of their time and the town plans featured on the maps are in many cases the first information we have of their early apppearance.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.