Fine dark impression of Speed's decorative map of Cornwall, from the rare Latin edition of Speed's Theatre of Great Britain.
Includes birdseye view of Launceton, sea monsters, compass rose, sailing ships and 8 of coats of arms.
Engraved by Jodocus Hondius in Amsterdam in 1610, this is one of the most famous and decorative of all English county maps. Because of Cornwall's long and thin dimensions, Hondius had a great deal of sea area to use, which he filled with an inset view of Launceston, a large title cartouche with the Royal Arms, four local antiquities, eight coats of arms and several galleons and sea-monsters.
Speed relied the work of John Norden rather than Saxton's map, for his source for this map. Norden (1548-c.1625), also planned a complete county atlas, but he never acquired the patronage essential for such a long-term enterprise. His finances failed after surveying only eight counties, but his work was innovative (popularising the use in England of a grid system with marginal letters and numbers) and with such good quality eying that Speed preferred to use Norden's maps rather that Saxton's as source material.
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.