Clive A. Burden LTD. Rare Maps, Antique Atlases, Books and Decorative Prints

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden‚Äč
P.O. Box 863,
Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks HP6 9HD,
Tel: +44 (0) 1494 76 33 13

This fine map of New England was published at a important period of its history. It is from the most prestigious English world atlas of the seventeenth century by John Speed (1552-1629). Speed is the most famous of all the English map-makers. His two most celebrated publications are ‘The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain’ covering the British Isles, first published in 1611[12] and the ‘Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World’, first published in 1627. Speed was a tailor by profession with a great interest in history and maps. He wanted to produce an English atlas of the same high standards and quality as those published on the continent.

The ‘Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World’ was published in 1627, two years before the death of Speed. Ownership of the atlas passed through various hands until sometime after 1668 when Roger Rea sold the rights to Thomas Bassett and Richard Chiswell. Bassett was a specialist in legal books and Chiswell was the publisher for the Royal Society. The final 1676 edition of the ‘Prospect’ includes eight further maps on seven sheets appearing for the first and only time, four of these are of the ‘Kings dominions abroad’ the American colonies: New England, Virginia and Maryland, Carolina, Jamaica and Barbados.

The cartography of New England is drawn from the Joannes Janssonius ‘BELGII NOVI …’, 1651. In this example though the cartographer eliminates the south-westerly regions of the map as the intention was to provide a more detailed map of the Virginia and Maryland area. In fact it is most closely derived from the Nicolaas Jansz. Visscher version published c.1651. ‘This is particularly noticeable when studying the decorative fauna depicted, and the additional placenames that Visscher introduced such as Zuyder Zee south of Cape Cod, here translated to South Sea. The only major cartographic alteration is the narrowing of the Delaware peninsula utilising the Augustine Herrman map, 1673[74]. Most of the differences reflect the anglicising of the map; one of the more notable additions is Boston. This is one of the first maps to depict the English pre-eminence in the region. The text on the reverse of the map describes the region although examples are known without it.’ (Burden). Burden (2007) 455; McCorkle (2001) 676.6; Phillips ‘Atlases’ 488; Shirley (2004) T.Spe 1j; Skelton (1970) 92; Stokes (1915-28) I p. 148 & II p. 96 n.36.


A Map of New England and New York

Sold by Tho:Bassett in Fleetstreet and Richard Chiswell in St. Pauls Church Yard, London, 1676
380 x 505 mm., in good condition.
Stock number: 10914
$ 5,500
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