Beautiful full color example of Speed's map of Britain during the Saxon Heptarchy. The left border depicts the earliest kings starting with Hengist of Kent from AD 456 and the right border shows the later kings and their process conversion to Christianity: Ethelbert is shown receiving religious instruction from St. Augustine and Sebert is shown reconsecrating the Roman Temples of Dianna and Apollo, now St. Pauls in London and St. Peters in Westminster. The Kings are represented with their armorial crests and other signs of their rule. The map itself shows the various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, each with its coat-of-arms. The map was engraved by Jodocus Hondius. The map also includes numerous crests and coats of arms throughout the map and an elaborate cartouche and compass rose. It is one of the most sought after and recognizable maps on Britain and was later revised and copied by Blaeu and Jansson. The present exmple has full wide margins and is in near fine condition.
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.