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First Edition of John Speed's Antique Map of the World

Nice example of Speed's double hemisphere map of the World, one of the earliest obtainable world maps published in England.

Speed's map is based upon Grent's extremely rare map of the world published in London. The map is one of the earliest attainable world maps printed in English. The map shows California as an island, an unusual NW Coast of America, conjectural Magellanica or The Southerne Unknowne Land, and extraordinary early detail throughout the map. It is surrounded by smaller celestial hemispheres, figural representations of Water, Earth, Air and Fire, a number of celestial phenomena and portraits of early explorers. Includes several lengthy notes on the South Pole and Straits of Magellan.

The present example is the first state of the map, which would be re-issued by other publishers until at least 1676.  The different states of the map can be identified by the name of the publisher (here George Humble) and date on the map, which was revised in 1646 and 1651.

Condition Description
Minor tear just to the right of the words "The South Hemisphere," near the centerfold. Top margin added.
Shirley #317.
John Speed Biography

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.