Auction 134, Lot 2

"The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine. Presenting an Exact Geography of the Kingdomes of England, Scotland, Ireland and the Iles Adjoyning…", Speed, John

Subject: Title Pages

Period: 1611 (dated)


Color: Hand Color

9.6 x 15 inches
24.4 x 38.1 cm

Speed's title page is an elaboration of the architectural framework used by Abraham Ortelius in the Theatrum. The superstructure of pillars, pedestals and columns is intricately decorated with cupids' heads, grotesques, herms, putti and other figures. The dominate figure above the title is an indigenous Briton taken from an engraving of a Pict by John White that was first published by Theodor de Bry in 1590. The four other figures in the niches represent the conquerors of Great Britain - Roman, Saxon, Danish, and Norman. Vignettes of the City of London and a ship are on the foundation along with the publisher's imprint. According to Shirley, this sheet may have been engraved by Renold Elstack due to stylistic similarities to other works he engraved for Speed. John Sudbury and George Humble's imprint at bottom.

References: Shirley (TP) #32.

Condition: A

There is some minor surface soil and a faint brown ink name of a previous owner visible in the title plate. A chip in the right margin has been restored.

Estimate: $325 - $400

Sold for: $190

Closed on 12/1/2010