"The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine: Presenting an Exact Geography of the Kingdomes of England, Scotland, Ireland, and the Iles Adioyning...", Speed, John
Subject: Title Pages
Period: 1627 (published)
Color: Black & White
9.6 x 14.9 inches
24.4 x 37.8 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 dominant 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. George Humble's imprint is at bottom.
References: Shirley (BL Atlases) T.SPE-1e; cf. Shirley (TP) #32.
A nice impression with a coat of arms watermark. There is light dampstaining in the upper part of the engraved image, light soiling, and a couple short edge tears at right that have been closed on verso with archival materials. The margin has been extended at left, and there are remnants of hinge tape on verso.