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Antique Map of Devonshire by John Speed

Antique Map of Devon by John Speed
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First edition dated 1611, English text verso.

Condition: Bold imprint (1st state), laid on Japanese tisue paper for stability, some areas of paper repair by professional restorer. A lovery copy, could be hand coloured if required.

Title: An antique map of Devonshire
Medium: Copperplate engraving. Image Size: 380 x 520mm, 15 x 20" approx.
Order No. 2473 Price: SOLD Paper Size: 425 x 544mm, 16.25 x 21.25 " approx.
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John Speed (1552-1629)

Born at Farndon in Cheshire and followed his father's trade as a tailor. By 1584 he had moved to London with his wife (Susanna who bore twelve sons and six daughters) and been made a Freeman of Merchant Tailors in 1580.

He was a keen amateur historian and map maker, producing maps for the Merchant Tailors in 1598. Became a member of the Society of Antiquaries where it is likely that he came into contact with leading historians of the day such as Sir Robert Cotton, William Camden, whose text he had read, and perhaps even Christopher Saxton. His interests came to the notice Sir Fulke Greville who made an allowance so that he should be free to write a history of England and, by courtesy of Queen Elizabeth, he worked from a room in the Custom House.

A good historian, he was a great gatherer of information 'I have put my sickle to other men's corne'. Most of his map material was copied from Saxton: however, John Norden (c.1548-1625)) and William Smith (c.1550-1618) had produced maps of some countries and Gerard Mercator maps of the regions. Yet Speed must have travelled extensively, for his maps go well beyond those of his predecessors. By including the hundreds, the inset town plans and heraldic devices of his maps and modifying the Camden text in the atlas he assured its success and lasting appeal

Original 17th century map of Devonshire by John Speed

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