Duodecimo (125 x 75 mm.), later half calf, cloth boards, spine with red gilt title label, marbled endpapers, later free endpapers. With engraved frontispiece title, typographic title page, 1 large folding map of the British Isles and 31 folding town plans (London larger), pp. (30), 645, (40), typographic title and penultimate leaf with excised stamp replaced, otherwise in good condition.
This is the first printed book of town plans of the British Isles. Rutger Hermannides was a Professor of History at the University of Harderwijk in Holland. The ‘Britannia Magna’ published in 1661, was a text drawn largely from William Camden’s ‘Britannia’ and like that work first issued in Latin. This is divided by country and then individual counties. To illustrate the work, he chose a fine series of town plans which are almost entirely derived from the insets on John Speed’s county maps with the notable exception of Dover, which is derived from a plate first issued by Matheus Merian. The neatly engraved title page is the work of J. veen Huysen and contains an oval portrait of the newly crowned King Charles II and a miniature view of London.
It is the small, town plans for which this work is most notably known. There are 26 English cities represented, Edinburgh in Scotland and 4 in Ireland. London is as might be expected larger in size and folded into the work. They are all extremely appealing, each bearing the town’s coat-of-arms, many decorated with ships, farm workers, architectural details, and so on. Not in Chubb (1927); Darlington & Howgego (1964) no. 13; Fordham (1965) p. 9; Shirley (1988); Shirley (2004) T.Her 1a; not in Skelton (1970).