FIRST EDITION. The Counties Of Britain. A Tudor Atlas By John Speed. Published In Association With The British Library. Introduction By Nigel Nicolson – 1988

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In 1611 – 12 an atlas of Great Britain was published under the grandiloquent title, ‘The Theatre of The Empire of Great Britaine; Presenting an Exact Geography of the Kingdomes of England, Scotland, Ireland and the Iles adioyning: With the Shires, Hundreds, Cities and Shire-townes, within ye Kingdome of England, divided and described by John Speed.’

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Pre-owned. The John Speed referred to was John Speed, a Cheshire-born cartographer who had been preparing the individual maps prior to their being collected to form The Theatre which was intended as the topographical section of Speed’s ‘The History of Great Britaine’. When it was completed it became, after Saxton’s, the earliest published atlas of the British Isles, and in ensuing years its maps were to become what R.V. Tooley has called ‘the best known and most popular of all English county maps’. One of the most attractive characteristics of maps is their power to combine the functional with the decorative. Speed’s atlas is valued tody only only because it was one of the first to show all the counties of Britain, but also for its degree of details. As well as showing the towns, villages and boundaries as they were during the reign of Elizabeth I, it contains the first known ‘aerial’ maps of many English towns and is embellished with a wealth of heraldic decoration, illustrations of battles, antiquities and royal portraits, which elevate it from a collection of early maps into an elaborate work of art. Large. In very good condition. Tiny dent and tear to back cover spine and slight rubbing to front dustjacket. First Edition. Hardcover. Published by Pavilion Books Limited 1988

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Weight 1.49 kg