Early (Sudbury & Humble) edition of this fine decorative map of Somerset, from Speed's Theatre of Great Britain.
Includes a plan of Bath, a number of coats of arms and other embellishments.
John Speed (1552-1629) is arguably the most famous English cartographer of any period. His The Theatre Of The Empire Of Great Britaine, consisting of maps of each of the individual English counties are perhaps the best known and most sought after of all county maps. The maps themselves were derived from the best and most up-to-date sources available, predominantly those of Saxton and Norden. However, Speed also made innovations of his own, including the introduction of town plans on many of the maps, vignette scenes of topographical, historical or archaeological interest and also the coats of arms of local Earls and Dukes.
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.