Catalog Archive
Auction 195, Lot 441

Speed's Famous Map of the British Isles Engraved by Hondius

"The Kingdome of Great Britaine and Ireland", Speed, John

Subject: Britain

Period: 1610 (dated)

Publication: The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine

Color: Hand Color

20.1 x 14.9 inches
51.1 x 37.8 cm
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This famous map of the British Isles was engraved by Jodocus Hondius in Amsterdam. The map's outline is based on the work of Mercator, Saxton, Hondius and on the very rare 'Battles' map of 1603 compiled by Speed himself. Moreland and Bannister point out that the sea is engraved using the shot silk style. In later editions, this near 3-D effect is lost as the delicately engraved lines wore smooth. The upper part of the map is flanked by views of London and Edinburgh, and an inset map of the Orkneys. The bird's-eye view of Edinburgh appears to be based upon a manuscript map c.1588 in the Cotton collection. The London view has some elements that resemble Norden's 1600 view, but the similarities in format with part of Visscher's 1616 panorama suggest that both perspectives derive from the same, unknown, source. Embellished with coat of arms, medals or coins, putti, sea monsters, ships, a compass rose, and three cartouches. The imprint of John Sudbury and George Humble is located at bottom right, published circa 1612. English text on verso.

References: Moreland & Bannister p. 213; Shirley (BI to 1650) #316; Shirley (BL Atlases) T.SPE-1b.

Condition: B+

A crisp impression on a lightly toned sheet with a bunch of grapes watermark. There are two small wormholes along the centerfold at bottom. The map has been fully backed in archival tissue, partially obscuring the text on verso.

Estimate: $2,000 - $2,300

Sold for: $1,500

Closed on 11/15/2023