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by John Speed

John Speed is a name that is synonymous with English cartography. He is also arguably the most famous name in English cartography. He was born in 1552, in a pretty village named Farndon, south of Chester, on the banks of the River Dee, close to the Welsh border in Cheshire. When Speed was a young man, he worked for his father in his tailoring business. He eventually grew tired of this and ventured south, settling in London sometime around 1582. Whilst working in London, Speed’s keen interest and knowledge of history enabled him to become a member of The Society of Antiquaries, and it was here his interests came under the notice of Sir Fulke Greville. Greville was a capable administrator, and a man of means, and he secured Speed a position within the Customs Service. This gave Speed a guaranteed living, and subsequently allowed him the freedom to pursue his other interests in life, one of which was cartography. John Speed in time produced two extremely fine atlases. The first in 1612 was entitled 'The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain', which was the first atlas devoted to The British Isles only. It is suggested that Speed drew on earlier cartographic works by Christopher Saxton, and John Norden. The second great atlas was his 1627 'A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World'. This was the very first atlas of the world to be published by an Englishman. This was a much larger and more ambitious undertaking. As well as having all the maps of his earlier successful work, this later work had 28 additional maps. The four continents plus a double hemisphere world map, a further 23 maps showing European and Far Eastern maps, and perhaps, most importantly, of all from an English perspective; 3 maps of 'The Colonies of America'. John Speed died in 1629, only a few years after his second magnificent atlas had been published. Arader Galleries are proud to offer to you a truly wonderful selection of superb conditioned, uncolored maps from this very attractive 1676 atlas by England’s foremost cartographer of the seventeenth century. For 40 years Arader Galleries has been well known for offering items of only the very highest quality and standards, and we will always stand four square behind the provenance of all our items. I am pleased to say that these maps are in keeping with this fine tradition.One glance at John Speed’s 1676 map of Brecknockshire and it will show you that it is a rural and hilly and mountainous region. Two wonders of nature occur within the county; The Brecon Beacons, and the Black Mountains. Both are very popular tourist destinations for all kinds of physical and outdoor pursuits. Brecknockshire was one of the thirteen historic counties of Wales. The two main rivers that run through the county are; The rivers Usk and Wye. Brecknockshire as a county in its own right came into existence in 1535. The main towns are; Hay-on-Wye, which is a haven for bibliophiles everywhere. Brecon, which is a very pleasant market town. It has a Norman castle, and a medieval priory, which early last century was elevated to cathedral status. Builth Wells has historically always been militarily and economically important, due to its being situated on important trade routes, and on a crossing point on along an important river. As is normal with John Speed county maps, there is plenty of elaborate and thoughtful cartographic decoration on display. There is the Welsh coat of arms, a title cartouche, a graphic depiction of a battle, and its explanation, the 'Prince of Wales' feathers, and a lovely town plan of the county town of Brecon. Within the plan you will find the castle, a walled town, the college, a church, and the priory.This is a well balanced, attractive map of a truly delightful rural Welsh county. This description is prepared by Ian Williams of Arader Galleries, who has over 20 years experience in maps and decorative prints.

Book Details

  • Bookseller: Arader Galleries US (US)
  • Bookseller Inventory #: i10
  • Author: John Speed
  • Format/binding: No Binding
  • Book condition: Good
  • Quantity available: 1
  • Keywords: John Speed, maps, Wales, Brecon, Brecknockshire,

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