|Method||Copper engraved with hand colour|
|Published||[Thomas Snodham, for Sudbury and Humble, 1614-16]|
|Dimensions||377 x 503 mm|
A second edition printing of John Speed's county map of Dorset, featuring an inset plan of Dorchester in the upper left corner, and Coats of Arms of local noble families in the lower left. Portland Bill, the most southern point along the coastline, is labelled as Portland Iland. Various sea monsters and ships decorate the Channel.
English text on verso describing the county, accompanied by a list of Berkshire's hundreds, and an alphabetical list of place names.
John Speed (1552-1629) is the most famous of all English cartographers primarily as a result of The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine, the first atlas of the British Isles. The maps from this atlas are the best known and most sought-after of all county maps. The maps were derived mainly from the earlier prototypes of Christopher Saxton and Robert Norden but with notable improvements including parish "Hundreds" and county boundaries, town plans and embellishments such as the coats of arms of local Earls, Dukes, and the Royal Household. The maps are famed for their borders consisting of local inhabitants in national costume and panoramic vignette views of major cities and towns. An added feature is that regular atlas copies have English text printed on the reverse, giving a charming description of life in the early seventeenth century of the region. The overall effect produced very decorative, attractive and informative maps.
Speed was born in 1552 at Farndon, Cheshire. Like his father before him he was a tailor by trade, but around 1582 he moved to London. During his spare time Speed pursued his interests of history and cartography and in 1595 his first map of Canaan was published in the "Biblical Times". This raised his profile and he soon came to the attention of poet and dramatist Sir Fulke Greville a prominent figure in the court of Queen Elizabeth. Greville as Treasurer of the Royal Navy gave Speed an appointment in the Customs Service giving him a steady income and time to pursue cartography. Through his work he became a member of such learned societies as the Society of Antiquaries and associated with the likes of William Camden Robert Cotton and William Lambarde. He died in 1629 at the age of seventy-seven.
Condition: Vertical centre fold as issued. Trimmed within plate mark along right edge, but close to plate mark elsewhere, and graingerised to early paper. Strong impression, although areas of time toning and discolouration.