One of the most famous maps of Scotland, with an inset of the Orkneys. First issued 1611-12, the plate originally had portraits of James VI of Scotland and I of England, his wife Anne and their two sons. However in 1652 the Puritan ascendancy made it necessary to re-engrave the plate, removing the Royal family, to be replaced by costume vignettes of a Scotch (i.e. lowland) man & woman and their wilder Highland neighbours. The checked garments worn by the second pair are considered to be one of the earliest depictions of tartan. One of the earliest maps of Scotland published in the British Isles. Engraved by Jodocus Hondius, the map is a true work of art, combining great detail with artistic flourishes, including a compass rose, cherubs, ships, sea monsters, the Royal coats of arms. An unsually wide margined example, with English text on the verso.
John Speed (1551 or '52 - 28 July 1629) was the best known English mapmaker of the Stuart period. Speed came to mapmaking late in life, producing his first maps in the 1590s and entering the trade in earnest when he was almost 60 years old.
John Speed's fame, which continues to this day, lies with two atlases, The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine (first published 1612), and the Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World (1627). While The Theatre ... started as solely a county atlas, it grew into an impressive world atlas with the inclusion of the Prospect in 1627. The plates for the atlas passed through many hands in the 17th century, and the book finally reached its apotheosis in 1676 when it was published by Thomas Bassett and Richard Chiswell, with a number of important maps added for the first time.