Catalog Archive
Auction 189, Lot 369

Early Example of 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: 1616 (circa)

Publication: The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine

Color: Hand Color

20.2 x 15.1 inches
51.3 x 38.4 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 John Sudbury and George Humble. English text on verso with an extensive explanation.

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

Condition: A

A crisp impression on a bright sheet with a coat of arms watermark, an archivally repaired centerfold separation at bottom, and a few tiny chips and tears along the edges of the sheet.

Estimate: $3,000 - $3,750

Sold for: $3,000

Closed on 9/14/2022