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Bassett and Chiswell edition. Copper engraving with later hand colouring. Overall size : 55.2cms x 43.3cms. Image size : 509mm x 383mm. Title in decorative cartouche surmounted by the Irish harp top . English text verso describing the history and geography of the land on the right hand page and with an index on the left. Two edge tears at top margin, archivally repaired, one bottom margin and one 56mm archival strengthening at bottom of centrefold else good condition. In 1983 JH Andrews of the Department of Geography, Trinity College, Dublin published a paper which asserted,’ Although there are several contemporary references to Elizabethan and early Jacobean maps of Dublin, the earliest surviving large-scale cartographic representation of the city is the inset in John Speed’s map of Leinster dated 1610’ so the town plan top right is the earliest extant map of Dublin. Important map with beautiful 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 acquainted 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 Speed’s maps are unique historical documents of their time and the town plans featured on the maps are in most cases the first information we have of their early apppearance.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.