'THE KINGDOME OF SCOTLAND' by John Speed c.1627 / 1632

'THE KINGDOME OF SCOTLAND' by John Speed c.1627 / 1632
SKU: spee/scot/001

A highly decorative 17th century map of Scotland which was 'performed' by John Speed, engraved by Jodocus Hondius and published in  [Speed's] Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine (London: J. Sudbury & G. Humble, 1627 / 1632 [John Dawson text]).

One of the most well known and sought after maps of Scotland, it is noted for its portraits of the Scottish Royal family, namely James VI ( or James I of England), Anne of Denmark and the two Princes, Henry and Charles. Within a year of the maps original publication in 1612, Henry, at the age of 18 years, died tragically of typhoid fever leaving the 11 year old Charles as heir apparent. Charles would later become King only to be usurped by Parliament during the Englsh Civil War / Revolution. In 1649, he was executed making Britain a republic until his own son, Charles II was restored in 1660. In the meantime, the Royal figures on the map were replaced with ones of Scottish nobility and of highlanders.

John Speed (1552-1629) was born in the Cheshire village of Farndon and from his youth pursued his father's profession of tailoring. He later moved to London to continue this trade, though Speed's real passions lay elsewhere, namely in the fields of antiquity and cartography. He joined the Society of Antiquaries where his enthusiasm soon attracted the attention of notables such as William Camden and Sir Fulke Greville. In 1596 Greville provided Speed with a full time allowance to write a 'Historie of Great Britaine'. It was during this project that Speed decided to add a cartographic supplement to the work and it was from this that his famous atlas, 'The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine', was born.

When published in 1611/12, his atlas was an immediate success, outdoing the one established by Christoper Saxton in 1579. There were a number reasons for this: Speed's atlas showed each county separately with its hundreds, was resplendent with heraldic shields but most significantly had one or two town plans. Displayed from a bird's eye view perspective, many of the towns were surveyed by Speed himself using a distinct 'scale of paces' and are the earliest known plans of these places. The aesthetic beauty of the maps were also down to the Dutch engraver, Jodocus Hondius, whose fine calligraphy and decorative strapwork are a feature throughout.

Speed's legacy was to live on long after his passing, the ' Theatre' itself was published in many editions until 1676. The maps were then re-published in the early 18th Century by Henry Overton and then finally in the 1780s by Dicey & co. giving them a life of 170 years.

  • This is an original copperplate engraving with later hand colour.
  • Printed area is approximately 31.2cms by 38.2cms.
  • The map is in very good condition with adequate margins. The centrefold has been professionally repaired without loss. Click on image for a better view.
  • Click on 'Delivery Policy' for postage costs.
  • Guaranteed to be over 380 years old.

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