'SOMERSET SHIRE' by Pieter Van Den Keere ('Miniature Speed') c.1646
An attractive and interesting 17th century map of Somerset which was originally engraved by Pieter Van Den Keere and published in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland Described and Abridged... from a Farr Larger Voulume Done by John Speed (London: G. Humble, 1627-1646).
Pieter Van Den Keere (c.1571-1646) was a renowned Dutch engraver of maps. As a young boy, his family were forced to flee the Netherlands due to religious persecution. By 1584 he was living in London where his sister married the cartographer, Jodocus Hondius, also a Dutch refugee. As Hondius's apprentice, he became a highly skilled engraver and map maker. Eventually moving back to Amsterdam, he embarked on a long and illustrious career engraving many fine maps for different cartographers as well as those for his own atlas of the Netherlands (published 1617-22).
Amongst his most well known early works was a splendid series of miniature British / Irish maps which he engraved between 1599 and 1605. The plates having been used for a miniature Dutch edition of Camden's Britannia (1617) were then acquired in c.1619 by John Speed's publisher, George Humble. The success of the Speed atlas had inspired Humble to produce a miniature county atlas. Utilising forty of Van Den Keere's plates (with minor alterations), this came to full fruition in 1627 with the atlas: England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland Described and Abridged... from a Farr Larger Voulume Done by John Speed. The maps have ironically come to be known as 'Miniature Speeds' even though Van Den Keere had engraved them sometime before the larger Speed atlas had appeared. The 'miniature' atlas proved popular and was published in several editions until 1676.
- This is an original copperplate engraving with later hand colour.
- Printed area is approximately 12.3cms by 8.6cms.
- The map is in very good condition. The lower paper margin is close to the printed area, as issued, but is still mountable without loss. Click on image for better view.
- The item comes displayed in a ready to frame museum quality mount.
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- Guaranteed to be over 350 years old.