Catalog Archive
Auction 165, Lot 421

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: 1650 (circa)

Publication: The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine…

Color: Hand Color

19.9 x 15 inches
50.5 x 38.1 cm
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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 Roger Rea. English text on verso with an extensive explanation.

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

Condition: B+

A crisp impression with minor soiling. There are professional repairs to several small tears and chips confined to the blank margins, as well as to a chip that enters map border adjacent to centerfold at top, with a minor portion of the border skillfully replaced in facsimile.

Estimate: $3,000 - $3,750

Sold for: $2,000

Closed on 11/15/2017