A good example of the first state of Speed's map of Wales, in full original color with gold highlights. Speed's map of Wales is one of the maps which was engraved by Jodocus Hondius and bears his trademark engraving style, especially in the Ocean. The map is richly embellished with 16 town views and a sailing ship, 2 sea monsters and a elaborate compass rose. The map is a bit toned and has been repaired on the verso, with evidence of very minor paper loss, although the loss of text on the verso is a bit more significant, having been removed from an old backing board. The map is quite rare in old color and this is the first example we have ever seen to include the gold highlights. Backed with thin paper to support cracks and fold weakness, but still a decorative example of this remarkable work.
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.