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Description

Fine example of the title page from Henry Overton's extremely rare 1743 edition of John Speed's Theatre of Great Britaine, perhaps the most famous and enduring atlas of Great Britain published in the 17th Century.

The map includes allegorical figures showing a Britaine, Roman, Saxon, Dane and Norman, the "ethnic composition" of the people of 17th Century Britain. The plate was originally engraved by R. White, for Thomas Bassett and Richard Chiswell, the last major updated edition of Speed's atlas, but here has been revised for the present edition.

Henry Overton acquired Speed's plates from Christopher Browne in 1713. Hodson records four variants of the Speed Overton Atlas, publishing editions circa 1714, post-1716, circa 1720, and this last edition of 1743.

Hodson only records two complete examples of the atlas: The Cambridge University Library; and the C.A. Burden Collection; the example in the British Library lacks the title-page; and the Sheffield Reference Library lacks maps of Cornwall, Hampshire, Middlesex, Sussex, Yorkshire, and Wales.