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A Newe Mape of Germany: Speed 1627

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  • Title: A Newe Mape of Germany
  • Author: John Speed
  • Date: 1627
  • Medium: Hand-colored copperplate engraving
  • Condition: Very Good Plus - age toning, light discoloration and wear along issued center fold
  • Inches: 21 x 16 [Image]
  • Centimeters: 53.3 x 40.6 [Image]
  • Product ID: 224009

A Newe Mape of Germany Newly Augmented by John Speed Ano Dom: 1626

Map of Germany including parts of France, Italy, and Bosnia, as well as the North Sea (labeled as 'The Ocean') and part of the Baltic Sea (labeled as the 'East Sea'). Decorative border features cartouches illustrating major German cities, as well as the native dress of different German provinces.

The premier cartographer of Early-Modern England, John Speed (c. 1552-1629) produced maps noted for their artistry, ornate borders, and decorative cartouches. Born in Cheshire as the son of a tailor, Speed spent his adult life in London, where he entered the family profession himself. His passion for history eventually led him to join the Society of Antiquaries, where his friendships with other antiquarians and the patronage of Sir Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke, allowed him to branch out into publishing. He also garnered the attention of Queen Elizabeth, who in 1598 granted him a position at the Customs House in London, a post which gave him ample free time and income to pursue his scholarly interests. Speed, a contemporary of Shakespeare who would have moved in the same London intellectual circles, did not hold much affection for the Bard despite their shared patron, the Queen; Speed referred to him as a ‘papist,’ quite a derogatory remark in an England ruled by the staunchly-Protestant Queen Elizabeth.

Speed began his venture into cartography by printing historical maps depicting the Holy Land and historic military invasions of the British Isles. He published a History of Great Britaine in 1611, and his major work the Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine followed later in the same year. While Speed sourced the sixty-seven maps contained in the Theatre from other cartographers, he proved innovative by including the boundaries of county subdivisions, as well as insets showing plans of the cities and shire towns within the regions depicted. The Theatre proved enduringly popular, so much so that new editions of the work would be printed well into the eighteenth century. Late in his career in 1627, Speed produced Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World, the first world atlas compiled by an Englishman and published in England (though the plates were engraved by Jodocus Hondius in Amsterdam).