AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE ENGLISH PRE-FIRE WORLD MAP. FIRST STATE. As Shirley described at first glance this map looks like the world map by John Speed. However closer examination reveals a different imprint and ornate scenes. The four scenes representing water, earth, fire and ‘Aire’ are all new, their origin is unidentified. The two polar charts of the heavens are omitted also. The four corner images relating to the heavens remain unaltered as do the portraits of the four circumnavigators. The three legends in cartouche on the map are all slightly rewritten.
One of the most notable additions to the map is the presence of the tracks of the four circumnavigators illustrated. The image of Australia is also much improved and reflects that found on his earlier map of 1657 which is similarly as rare. That map cites Joan Blaeu as Stent’s source for this material.
At the time of Shirley’s publication on world maps in 1984 he was aware of only one example of the first state dated 1663. That had appeared in a Magna Gallery catalogue the same year. That example re-appeared at a Swann Galleries auction on 14 December 2000 lot 180. This second example appeared at an auction at Phillips, London, in 1982. They remain the only known examples.
A second state dated 1665, the year of his death from the plague, is also known in just two examples. One survives in the Huntington Library bound in to an example of Robert Fage’s ‘Cosmographie’, 1671, and one in private hands. A third state exists issued by John Overton in 1670. Shirley mis-identified this as a separate plate.
Peter Stent (1613?-65) was born about 1613 at Binsted, near Alton in Hampshire. He was apprenticed to Elizabeth Lowe, a copper plate printer, in 1627. A widow, a husband George Lowe had been the printer of John Smith’s map of New England. He was made free by the Merchant Taylor’s company in 1637. In 1645 he was left £106 by his father and he began buying old copper plates from which he could print stock. His shop was just outside London at Newgate from about 1642, until his death from the plague on 29 September 1665. He was England’s first printseller with a large and diverse stock of material. This map of the world appeared in his adverts for 1662 and 1663.
Provenance: Phillips auction, London, 1982; private English collection. Globe (1985) 378 pl. 153; (this example); not in Hind; Magna Gallery ‘Antique Maps 1561-1845’ 1984; Shirley ‘World’ 430; Tyacke (1978) p. 143; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).