Catalog Archive
Auction 157, Lot 448

Speed's "Heptarchy" Map Depicting the Saxon Kingdoms

"Britain as It Was Devided in the Tyme of the Englishe Saxons Especially During Their Heptarchy", Speed, John

Subject: Britain

Period: 1676 (published)

Publication: The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine

Color: Hand Color

20 x 15.1 inches
50.8 x 38.4 cm

This famous map of the Saxon kingdoms is often referred to as the 'Speed Heptarchy.' It is one of the decorative masterpieces from Speed's important English atlas. The seven vignettes on the left side depict the early Saxon kings, and those on the right side show the conversion to Christianity of seven other kings. The map covers all of England and Scotland in detail, with only the eastern part of Ireland shown with a few place names. Coats of arms are placed within the map to locate the various kingdoms. Three strapwork cartouches and a compass rose further embellish the map. This is a superb example of the array of illustrative features and cartographic detail for which Speed is so famous. With the imprint of Thomas Bassett and Richard Chiswell. English text on verso with an extensive explanation.

References: Shirley (BL Atlases) T.SPE-1j; Shirley (MCC-97) #317; Moreland & Bannister p. 215.

Condition: B

A crisp impression on watermarked paper with attractive color, moderate toning, and a few small chips confined to the blank margins. Remnants of hinge tape on verso.

Estimate: $2,400 - $3,000

Sold for: $1,700

Closed on 5/4/2016