A decorative and detailed 17th century map of The Roman Empire which was engraved by Abraham Goos and published in John Speed’s Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World (London: Bassett & Chiswell, 1676). The map is embellished in its left and right panels with the ‘carte à figures’ of men and women in their respective national costume of Spain, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and Morocco. In the top panel, there are panoramic views of the cities of Rome, Genoa, Jerusalem, Venice, Constantinople and Alexandria.
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 county atlas, ‘The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine’, was born. When this was finally published in 1611/12, it was an immediate success running into many editions.
In 1627, two years before his death, Speed became the first English cartographer to produce a world atlas with his ‘Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World’. The maps were finely engraved by the Dutchman, Abraham Goos, beautifully adorned and are distinct for their ‘carte a figures’ in their left and right border panels. The ‘Prospect’ also proved popular and was published in several editions (often bound with the ‘Theatre’) until 1676. From 1646, like the ‘Theatre’, a miniature version of the ‘Prospect’ was issued with maps engraved by Pieter Van Den Keere.
- This is an original copperplate engraving with later hand colour.
- Printed area is approximately 50.7cms by 39.1cms.
- The map is in very good condition. There is a repaired 7cm tear entering the right side of the map (through the ‘EGIPTIAN’) and strengthening to the left, right and bottom borders. There is lso some minor water staining in the bottom fold. Click on image for a better view.
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- Guaranteed to be over 340 years old.