This attractive carte-a-figures map is from the most prestigious English world atlas of the seventeenth century by John Speed (1552-1629). It was engraved by Abraham Goos and bears decorative panels on three sides. Those left and right include figures of natives in national dress. The upper panel features eight town plans of Tanger (Tangier), Ceuta, Alger (Algiers), Tunis, Alexandria, Alcair, Mozambique and Canaria.
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 and the ‘Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World’, first published in 1627, two years before the death of Speed. He had 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.
This is an example from the second edition which can be identified from the type setting on the verso. Betz 62 state 1, pp. 241-3; Norwich 30; Phillips ‘Atlases’ 442; Shirley BL T.Spe 2b; Skelton (1970) 36.