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Long title: Cambridgshire described with the devision of the hundreds, the Townes situation with the Armes of the Colleges of that famous Universiti. And also the Armes of all such Princes and noble men as have heertofore borne the honorable tytles and dignities of the Earldome of Cambridge. Copper engraving. later hand colouring. Overall sheet size : 54.8cm. x 41 cms image size: 521mm x 383mm.
This is one of the most decorative maps of the county, with two columns of college arms, a plan of the city of Cambridge and the figures of four scholars. English text on verso describing the history and geography of the county. Small edge split to bottom of centrefold, two brown marks to the side of the right gowned figures; greyness in left blank ; 2cms tear top margin just stretching into town plan ;right and left margin augmented with old paper to facilitate framing else a strong impression of a very desirable map in 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 Speed’s maps are unique historical documents and the town plans featured on the maps are in most cases the first information we have of their early apppearance.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.`