|Method||Copper engraved with hand colour|
|Artist||Drayton, Michael and Hole, William|
|Dimensions||250 x 330 mm|
An allegorical map of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, designed as an accompaniment to the Jacobean epic poem Poly-Olbion by Michael Drayton. In a departure from conventional cartography, the map is illustrated with numerous poetic figures, representing the various topographic and historic points of interest in the three counties. Cities and important towns are depicted as turreted women, hills and forests as agrarians and hunters, while the torsos of river-gods rise from the various watercourses.
Michael Drayton (1563-1631) was an English poet who composed the Poly-Olbion. This was illustrated with one of the most unusual series of county maps ever published. The Poly-Olbion was a series of poems, or songs, extolling the beauties of the English and Welsh countryside, and was first published in 1612. William Hole, who also engraved maps for Camden's Britannia, was commissioned to provide the maps to illustrate these songs. Drayton states that each map is "lively delineating ... every mountaine, forrest, river and valley; expressing in their sundry pastures; their loves, delights and naturall situations". Thus, it was clearly the intention to produce allegorical maps showing the natural topographical features of the county. As such very few towns or cities are shown on the maps. Each feature is accompanied by an allegorical figure - hills are shown with shepherds, rivers with water nymphs, islands with goddesses, towns with female figures wearing mural crowns, or crowns alone are used to denote London and royal palaces.
William Hole (active 1600-1624) was a skilled English engraver active in the seventeenth century. Best-known for producing maps for Camden's 'Britannia', Hole also engraved portraits, music scores, frontispieces and topographical scenes.
Condition: Vertical centre fold as issued. Creases, chips, and small tears to margins. Old tear repairs near the Severn river and to the top left corner of the sheet. Blank on verso.