'THE ISLE OF MAN' by John Speed (after Thomas Durham) c.1611 / 1612 (First Edition)
A very decorative and finely engraved early 17th century map of the Isle of Man which was based on the earliest known survey by Thomas Durham in 1595 and published in John Speed's Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine (London: Sudbury & Humble, 1611/1612 [William Hall & John Beale text]). On the reverse of the map there is a complete set of text briefly describing the history and topography of the county. This particular example is a much sought after first edition with a bold impression.
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.