SPEED, John (1552-1629). Britain as it was devided in the tyme of the Englishe: Saxons especially during their Heptarchy.
Original copper engraving with hand colour, published by Sudbury & Humble, printed in London, 1614. 415 x 525 mm.
The map, with English text to verso, shows Britain during the Anglo-Saxon period when England was divided into seven different kingdoms. These included Kent, Wessex, Essex, East Anglia, Mercia and Northumbria. The map is flanked by decorative panels. The left shows the founders of each of the kingdoms and the right, the kings who adopted Christianity, sometimes by force.
John Speed is arguably the most famous of all the British cartographers. His Theatre Of The Empire Of Great Britaine, first published in 1611, was the first atlas to cover all of Great Britain, whilst his later work of 1627, Prospect Of The Most Famous Parts Of The World, was the first world atlas to be published by an Englishman. In his county maps Speed updated the work of Saxton and Norden adding his own innovations such as inset town plans and views of local landmarks, resulting in maps that were not only the most accurate and information of the day but also the most decorative.