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SPEED, J. - The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine (Title Page & Frontispiece Together)

SPEED, J. - The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine  (Title Page & Frontispiece Together)
The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine (Title Page & Frontispiece Together) - SPEED, J.
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Title : The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine (Title Page & Frontispiece Together).
Map maker : SPEED, J..
Date : London, 1627.
Size : 15.7 x 10.2 inches. / 40.0 x 26.0 cm.
Colouring : Coloured.

Description :Offered here together are the titlepage and frontispiece from John Speed's 1627 edition of “Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine”, his monumental atlas of the British Isles. This was the earliest atlas of the British Isles, and the earliest world atlas by an Englishman.

TITLE PAGE: The highly decorative title page is based on the framework of an earlier Ortelius work, and includes, in a more ornate form, the allegorical figures of a Roman, a Britain, a Saxon, a Dane and a Norman - each representing the conquerors of Great Britain, each in their traditional costume.
The pillars, pedestals and columns are intricately decorated with cupids' heads, grotesques, herms, putti, coins, crests and other figures. The dominate figure above the title is an indigenous Briton, taken from an engraving that was first published by Theodor de Bry in 1590.
Fine vignettes of the City of London, and a ship are on the foundation. According to Shirley, this sheet may have been engraved by Renold Elstack, due to the stylistic similarities to other works he engraved for Speed. George Humble's imprint is at the bottom.

FRONTISPIECE: The magnificent coat of arms of James I dominate the heraldic frontispiece - "The Achievement Of Our Soveraigne King James As He Nowe Beareth With The Armes Of The Severall Kings That Have Aunciently Raigned Within His Nowe Dominions".
Around this central panel are 24 smaller shields of parts of the realm from ancient times, including shields denoting the Romans, Saxons and Normans, amongst others. The page is signed by Jodocus Hondius, the engraver, and is dated 1614.

John Speed (1552-1629) is the most famous of all English cartographers, primarily as a result of this “The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine”, the first atlas of the British Isles. The maps from this atlas are the best known and most sought-after of all English county maps. Speed spent over 15 years assembling material for his famous publication. He employed one of the most skilled Dutch engravers of his time, Jodocus Hondius.

Jodocus Hondius (1563–1612), The Elder, was a Flemish / Dutch engraver, and cartographer. He is best known for his early maps of the New World and Europe, for re-establishing the reputation of the work of Gerard Mercator. He helped establish Amsterdam as the center of cartography in Europe in the 17th century.

Shirley (TP) #32 & 33., Shirley, Courtiers And Cannibals, 33.
Condition : In good condition on hand-made, chain-linked, watermarked paper. The left side of the title page was tightly cropped and has been re-margined. Text on verso of the Frontispiece.

ID: 94694

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