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Stock# 68887

"These two Speed atlases are considered the most important English language atlases of the 17th century." - David Rumsey (12058)

Beautiful example of the John Dawson and George Humble 1631 edition of John Speed's greatest works, his atlas of the world, A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World,  combined with his atlas of the British Isles, The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine.

This is the second combination edition of the atlases; Speed's Prospect was first issued in 1627 by George Humble, shortly before Speed's death in 1629. The Theatre was first published in 1612.

This edition of the world atlas includes 22 double-page engraved maps. The Theatre includes 67 double-page engraved maps of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland as well as their constituent counties.


Ink ownership inscription "Edward Wallis 1791" on title.


A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World includes the following maps:

  1. A New and Accurat Map of the World Drawne according to ye truest Descriptions latest Discoveries & best Observations yt have beene made by English or Strangers.
  2. Asia with the Islands adioyning described, the atire of the people, & Townes of importance all of them newly augmented by I. S.
  3. Africae, described the manners of their Habits, and buildinge: newly done into English by I.S.
  4. Europ, and the cheife-Cities contayned therin, described: with the habits of most Kingdoms now in use.
  5. America with those known parts in that unkowne worlde both people and manner of buildings Discribed and inlarged
  6. Ελλάς | Greece
  7. A New Mappe of the Romane Empire newly described by John Speede
  8. A. Newe Mape of Germany Newly Augmented by John Speed.
  9. Bohemia Newly described by John Speed
  10. France revised and augmented, the attires of the French and Situations of their chiefest cityes observed by John. Speede.
  11. A New Mape of Ye XVII Provinces of Low Germanie, mended a new in manie places.
  12. Spaine Newly described, with many adictions, both in the attires of the people & the Situations of their cheifest Cityes.
  13. Italia Newly augmented by I. Speede
  14. The Mape of Hungari newly augmented by John. Speede
  15. The Kingdome of Denmarke augmented by John Speede
  16. A Newe. Mape of Poland
  17. The Kingdome of Persia with the cheef Citties and Habites described.
  18. The Turkish Empire. Newly Augmented by John Speed 1626.
  19. the Kingdome of China newly augmented by I.S.
  20. A Newe Mape of Tartary augmented by John Speede and are to be sold in pops head Alley by George Humble.
  21. Mappa Aestivarum | A Mapp of the Sommer Islands
  22. The Invasions of England and Ireland With al their Ciuill Wars Since the Conquest.

The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine includes the following maps:

  1. The Kingdome of Great Britaine and Ireland
  2. Britain as it was devided in the tyme of the Englishe Saxons
  3. The Kingdome of England
  4. Kent
  5. Sussex
  6. Surrey
  7. Hantshire
  8. Wight Island
  9. Dorsetshyre
  10. Cornwall
  11. Somerset-Shire
  12. Wilshire
  13. Barkshire
  14. Midle-Sex described with the Most Famous...
  15. Essex
  16. Suffolke
  17. Norfolk
  18. Cambridgeshire
  19. Hartfordshire
  20. Bedford Shire
  21. Buckingamshire
  22. Oxfordshire
  23. Glocestershire
  24. Hereford-Shire
  25. Worcestershire
  26. The Counti of Warwick
  27. Northampton-Shire
  28. Huntington-Shire
  29. Rutlandshire
  30. Leicestershire
  31. The Countie and Citie of Lyncolne
  32. The Countie of Nottingham
  33. Darbieshire
  34. Stafford Countie
  35. Shropshyre
  36. Countye Palatine of Chester
  37. The Countie Pallatine of Lancaster
  38. York Shire
  39. The West Ridinge of Yorkeshyre
  40. North and East Ridings of Yorkshire
  41. The Bishoprick and Citie of Durham
  42. The Countie Westmorland
  43. Cumberland
  44. Northumberland
  45. The Isle of Man
  46. Holy Island. Garnsey. Farne. Jarsey.
  47. Wales
  48. Pembrokeshire
  49. Caermarden Both Shyre and Towne
  50. Glamorgan Shyre
  51. Monmouthshire
  52. Breknoke Both Shyre and Towne
  53. The Countie of Radnor
  54. Cardigan Shyre
  55. Montgomery Shire
  56. Marionethshire
  57. Denbighshire
  58. Flint-Shire
  59. Caernarvon Both Shyre and shire-tonwe
  60. Anglesey
  61. The Invasions of England and Ireland
  62. Kingdome of Scotland
  63. Kingdome of Irland
  64. Province of Mounster
  65. Countie of Leinster
  66. Province of Connaugh
  67. Province of Ulster
Condition Description
Folio. Bound to style in full calf, covers gilt-tooled with large central arabesques, floriated designs in the corners of the inner borders, which are ruled in gilt and blind, outer borders ruled in gilt and blind. Spine divided into seven compartments by raised bands, each tooled in gilt, titled in second "Speed Atlas". (Scattered expert repairs to marginal nicks and tears.)
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.