|Method||Copper engraved with hand colour|
|Published||J. Goddard ju: fe. Described by Christopher Saxton augmented by J. Speed and Sold by Henry Overton at the White Horse without Newgate London. [c.1720]|
|Dimensions||370 x 490 mm|
A scarce eighteenth century impression of John Speed's map of Norfolk, engraved by John Goddard for Speed's Theatre. The Hundreds are outlined in hand colour, and cities, towns, and villages are picked out in red. In the top right corner, an inset map of Norwich sits above an alphanumeric key of important landmarks. In the top left, an illustration of a battle between infantry and cavalry stands for two insurrections in Norfolk's history, one in 1381 and another in 1549. The crests of various Norfolk nobles run along the right hand margin, the title is enclosed in a book cartouche, and next to this the Royal Arms are prominently displayed.
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 so called f'irst 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.
For the publication of this prestigious atlas Speed turned to the most successful London print-sellers of the day, John Sudbury and George Humble. William Camden introduced the leading Flemish engraver, Jodocus Hondius Sr. to John Speed in 1607 because first choice engraver William Rogers had died a few years earlier. Work commenced with the printed proofs being sent back and forth between London and Amsterdam for correction and was finally sent to London in 1611 for publication. The work was an immediate success and the maps themselves being printed for the next 150 years.
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.
Henry Overton (1676 - 1751) was a British engraver, publisher, mapmaker, and printseller. The son of the mapseller John Overton, and brother of Philip Overton, Henry inherited his father's stock and business in 1707, later forming a partnership with John Hoole. His earlier maps were largely based on acquired plates engraved by Sutton Nicholls, John Speed, and Blaeu. In addition to his own works, he also published revised editions of Speed's Atlas, as well as David Loggan's views of the colleges and public buildings of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
Condition: Pressed vertical centre fold, as issued. Repaired tears and printer's creases to plate. Professionally backed with archival tissue. Blank on verso.