Highly decorative map of Ireland, engraved in Amsterdam by Jodocus Hondius, for an early edition of Speed's Theatre of Great Britain.
Speed's map is considered perhaps the best depiction of Ireland of its time. 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, and vignette depictions of The Gentleman of Ireland; The Gentlewoman of Ireland; The Civill Irish Woman; The Civill Irish man; The Wilde Irish Man; The Wilde Irish woman. A superb rich impression.
The sea is engraved in the style made famous by Hondius and is best appreciated in the early states, before the effect is lost as delicate engraving of this type soon wore smooth.
The map was re-issued many times in Speed's atlases and as a separate publication. English text on verso. Bearing the names Sudbury and Humble. A gorgeous example, from an early edition of the atlas, still bearing the date of 1610.
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.