355 x 490 mm., small wormhole in upper side borders, some minor repairs to edges, otherwise in very good condition.
William Smith (1546-1618) was an antiquary and an officer of the College of Arms. The twelve maps of William Smith were for years known famously as those of the ANONYMOUS map maker. Although ten of them are derived from those of Christopher Saxton and two from John Norden they are no mere slavish copies. Smith sought local knowledge to improve on earlier works much of which was incorporated into his maps. One such correspondent called William Burton provides the only firm evidence we have that the engraver of the plates was Jodocus Hondius. In 1958 the British Museum acquired four manuscript maps from the Netherlands which provided the conclusive evidence of the authorship of William Smith. These were of Cheshire, Hertfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. The name of Hans Woutneel, a Dutch bookseller in London, can be found in connection with two of the maps, but only on one engraved, that of Essex dated 1602. This has led to speculation that his departure from the project, Hondius’ departure to work on the copper plates for the atlas of John Speed, or the latter’s imminent production were sufficient to end the series. The maps of William Smith beautifully engraved by Hondius remain one of the most desirable of any English county maps. Those in the first state are VIRTUALLY UNOBTAINABLE.Peter Stent loomed very large in the London market for loose prints and maps from about 1641 until his death. Sometime quite probably during the English Civil war when there was an increased demand for maps of the counties Stent acquired the copper plates to William Smith’s maps. It was certainly by c.1655 when his lists them in his broadside catalogue. He was to sell them as individual sheets with his added imprint Printed and sould by P. Stent and are therefore of EXTREME RARITY on the market today. Baum p. 45; Deadman & Brooks ‘Leicestershire’ p. 20; Deadman & Brooks ‘Rutland’ p. 18; Skelton (1970) p. 21 & no. 49; Imago Mundi 36 pp. 90-2; Skelton (1970) p. 21 & no. 89.