"The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine. Presenting an Exact Geography of the Kingdomes of England Scotland and Ireland...", Speed, John
Subject: Title Page & Frontispiece
Period: 1676 (published)
Color: Hand Color
20.8 x 14.9 inches
52.8 x 37.8 cm
Speed's ornate title page elaborates on the architectural framework used by Abraham Ortelius in the Theatrum with its intricately decorated superstructure of pillars, pedestals, and columns. In the alcove 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 London and a ship are located on the foundation along with the publisher's imprint. Also included is the frontispiece to Speed's final edition of The Theatre of the Empire..., published by Thomas Bassett and Richard Chiswell and engraved by Robert White. The royal coat of arms of Charles II fills the center of this elaborate sheet. The numerous smaller heraldic shields forming the border denote all the associated kings of the ancient realm.
References: Shirley (BL Atlases) T.SPE-1b; cf. Shirley (TP) #32 & 33.
There is light soiling, much of it confined to the blank margins. There are some archivally repaired tears, one of which enters 2.5" into the title page image at top.