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

One of the maps ‘relating to North America introduced into the 1676 edition of John Speed’s ‘Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine’ is this one of Virginia and Maryland. Augustine Herrman’s landmark map of the region had been published three years earlier and bore a royal Privilege. However, that did not protect its superior cartography from being poached. Here the mapmaker is more circumspect, following John Smith’s general outline from 1612. He draws upon the Herrman mainly for toponomy. As such it is the first printed map to utilise its improved geography, although the Robert Morden and William Berry ‘Map of New England …’ was advertised just four days later. We should also bear in mind the possibility of Speed’s ‘Epitome’ being issued earlier still. As such it is particularly important in representing the transition between two fundamental maps of the region. Other areas where the Herrman was used is in the depiction of the Delaware Bay and River which was omitted altogether from the Smith map, and an improved delineation of the north-eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay. An independent source for the Atlantic coast of the peninsula is used. The June 1668 border settlement between Maryland and Virginia on the eastern shore is shown with the Herrman-like usage of a double line of trees. One item that did not appear on either of the progenitor maps is a brief inclusion of northern Carolina. The text on the reverse of the map is a condensed version of that found in John Ogilby’s America 1671′ (Burden).

John Speed (1552-1629) 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. Baer (1949) no. 86; Burden (1996) no. 164; Morison, Papenfuse, Bramucci & Janson-La Palme (1983) pp. 17-19; Papenfuse & Coale (1982) pp. 16-18; Phillips ‘Atlases’ 488; Shirley (2004) T.Spe 1j; Skelton (1970) 92; Verner (1968) pp. 170.


A Map of Virginia and Maryland

Sold by Tho:Bassett in Fleetstreet and Richard Chiswell in St. Pauls Church Yard, London, 1676
380 x 500 mm., with a small upper right corner margin repair, otherwise in good condition.
Stock number: 10915
$ 4,500
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