Speed's Popular Carte-a-Figures Map of the Americas
"America with Those Known Parts in That Unknowne Worlde Both People and Manner of Buildings Discribed and Inlarged", Speed, John
Subject: Western Hemisphere - America
Period: 1626 (dated)
Publication: A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World
Color: Hand Color
20.3 x 15.6 inches
51.6 x 39.6 cm
This English map of the Americas is the earliest folio atlas map to depict California as an island, thus propagating one of the most enduring cartographic myths. It is also significant for its accurate depiction of the coast between Chesapeake and Cape Cod, and early portrayal of the English colonies, Iames Citti (Jamestown) and Plymouth. Boston and Long Island are not shown. The spurious islands of Brasil and Frisland still appear in the Atlantic. An inset map shows Greenland and Iceland. The map is the superb workmanship of the Dutch engraver, Abraham Goos. It is decorated in the popular carte-a-figures style with panels of costumed native figures at each side and vignettes of major cities at top. The figures at left represent the native people of North America, and at right the major South American tribes. The cities illustrated include Havana, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Cusco, and other important South American settlements. A number of sea monsters, flying fish and sailing ships also decorate the map. Dated in the cartouche 1626, published circa 1676 with the imprint of Bassett and Chiswell in the cartouche below title. English text on verso with text now mentioning Maryland, New York, Hochelaga, Quebec and Tadusac.
References: Burden #217; McLaughlin #3; Tooley (Amer) p. 113, #5; Shirley (BL Atlases) T.SPE-2f.
A bright, clean example with a slightly uneven impression, attractive color, and good margins. There are professional repairs to a centerfold separation entering vignettes at top, a tiny hole along neatline at bottom right, and several tears and small areas of loss in Havana vignette, with a minor amount of image replaced in facsimile. Some additional chips and tears confined to blank margins have also been professionally repaired.