Clive A. Burden LTD. Rare Maps, Antique Atlases, Books and Decorative Prints

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden​
P.O. Box 863,
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ONE OF ONLY 8 KNOWN EXAMPLES OF THE SO-CALLED PROOF MINIATURE SPEED. This is the first atlas of the entire British Isles, and it has mysterious origins. The year 1617 is the first true published issue of this series of maps, in an edition of William Camden’s ‘Britannia’ at the hands of Willem Janszoon (Blaeu). They would later become popularly known as the ‘miniature Speed’, a title acquired following its first published issue in England in 1627 at the hands of George Humble who similarly published the folio Speed atlas. However, the plates have a long and mysterious earlier history. Three of the plates are dated 1599, only recently did a clue come forward to their origin.

Seven collections like this of the original 44 plates lacking any title page or text were recorded by Skelton in 1970, only four were complete. If it had been published around 1599, they would pre-date the ‘Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine’ by John Speed, 1612, as the first ‘atlas’ of the British Isles. The ‘atlas’ of Christopher Saxton published in 1579 contained only maps of England and Wales.

Pieter van den Keere (1571-c.1646) engraved 22 of the maps, the remainder are all in a similar style and are deemed to have been his work. Van den Keere was a protestant émigré to London in 1584 travelling with his sister Colette. She married Jodocus Hondius in 1587, and quite probably they returned together to Amsterdam in 1593. Van den Keere married Anna Bertius, sister to Petrus Bertius. Thirty-three of the maps are derived from Saxton, some having more anglicised titles; that of Yorkshire only appears in this one example and is not considered part of the original set. Indeed, in the RGS example it is supplied in manuscript. The 6 maps of Scotland are derived from Abraham Ortelius’ map published in 1573. The 5 of Ireland are from van den Keere’s own engraving of Baptisto Boazio, published in 1591. Three of the maps are dated – Warwick & Leicester, Radnor etc., and northern Scotland. Known examples are listed below, this being the fifth on the list. None are known with either printed text or title page.

1. The Royal Geographical Society (shelf mark 264.A.35). With 44 maps, presented in memory of Mrs Yates Thompson, 1941. Yorkshire is present as a coloured drawing. It is bound with a manuscript description on 109 leaves.

2. British Library Harley MS.3813. With 37 coloured maps, lacking: Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Westmoreland and Cumberland, Leinster, Caithness, and Orkneys. Some replaced with manuscript drawings. With a manuscript description on 151 leaves.

3. Winchester College Library (part of the E. G. Box collection). 44 plates.

4. Center for British Art, Yale University. 43 (of 44) maps and 4 (of 5) roundel maps from the William Kip – Hans Woutneel series c.1602 (Shirley 241). Lacks Ultonia & world.

5. Hodson collection. With 46 maps, with the original 44 maps plus Yorkshire, and an oval map of England, Wales, Ireland, and southern Scotland by Peter Overradt after Jodocus Hondius (Shirley 223, 5 known).

6. Burden collection. Complete with 44 maps.

7. Private collection – maps alone, incomplete, no text. Believed to be the same example acquired May 1998 by a private English collection. No title. With 43 maps only, lacking Timea, in contemporary vellum. It appears as if the Timea plate was never bound in.

8. Sworders auction 26 September 2017 lot 23. 43 of 44 maps, lacking Oxford et al., all in early wash colour Now in a private English collection.

According to Skelton the British Library Harley Manuscript and Royal Geographical Society copies have the same manuscript text, which is a description of the British Isles with genealogical notes on the nobility. References within the text place its compilation to between 1605 and 1612, probably in or soon after the earlier date. The RGS example has additional preliminary leaves containing pp.1- 4 ‘The order of [the] first Parliamente [in] the tyme of King Edward the Confessor’ and pp. 5-6 ‘The table for the Sheires citties & nobilitie of England since the Conquest’. In this example, illustrated arms of the nobility are drawn in the margins of the maps. The BL example appears to be an incomplete fair copy of that in the RGS. Neither appears to bear any relation to any existing published text.

This example contains manuscript notations on the verso of 7 of the maps, in what appears to be two distinct hands. The decipherable content appears to be historical in nature. The two most interesting items are the English list of Kings and Queens of England since William the Conqueror. The last mentioned is Elizabeth I, however it only mentions her accession to the throne ‘Nov 17 [1558]’, not her successor in March 1603. This may place this collection conclusively to England prior to March 1603. On the same page is a diagrammatic map displaying what appears to be the family tree of Henry VII, potentially illustrating contenders for the throne following the death of Elizabeth I.

Crone pointed out that the watermarks of the RGS and BL examples (the Burden example above) are forms of the ‘pot’ marks commonly used in Amsterdam late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. They were also used in the 1617 edition. The same is present on some of these maps. Interestingly that of Yorkshire appears to be different paper altogether.

The first breakthrough came when Günter Schilder identified them as being listed in a Cornelis Claesz catalogue issued in 1609. The ‘Const ende Caert-Register’ of 1609 lists: ’44 Cleyne Caertkens van alle de Provincien van Enghelandt’ for 10 stuivers. Claesz (c.1551-1609) was the leading publisher of the day in Amsterdam and was particularly active in travel and cartography. This told us that Claesz was most likely the financier of the plate’s production employing van den Keere to engrave them. We still however have no indication of who might have been at the English end of the production. It was a common practice of the day for collaboration between the markets of the Netherlands and Britain. The former had greater resources of printers, publishers, and engravers. The dominant centre for this activity in Britain was of course London.

The period of the production of the van den Keere plates is a turbulent one in English history. The great promoter of the Saxton atlas, Lord Burghley died in 1598. The Tyrone Rebellion ran in Ireland through 1599, which had political ramifications for Lord Essex in particular who had his favour desired by some in the cartographic world. Queen Elizabeth dies on 24 March 1603 and is followed by James I. As always, but particularly in this case the change in the religious and political climate was enormous. Later that same year the Plague ravaged London taking the lives of 30,000, or 17% of its population. Forty thousand would die nationwide.

This example is first recorded being sold at a Sotheby’s auction in 1967. At the time ‘the map leaves were stitched with coarse thread to vellum stubb. The western half of the world map (which appears first in this volume) formed the front over; presumably the eastern half originally formed the back cover, but this was missing. To protect the maps, they were bound in their present form in 1972 in the same order as they appeared in the stitched volume. The binding was done by Mr Miles of the British Museum’ (Hodson pencil notes on front free endpaper). The world map is the quarto map dated 1574 which was first published in Abraham Ortelius’ Spieghel der Werelt’, 1577. It was only published in the first five editions, being replaced by a much smaller one in ensuing editions.

A second uncalled for map is by Peter Overrardt (c.1565-c.1652). This map of England, Wales and Ireland was recorded by Shirley as surviving in two known examples, this being one of them. Five examples are now known. A two-page description co-written by Donald Hodson and R. A. Skelton accompanies the atlas along with a further letter by Helen Wallis of its deposit with the British Museum for rebinding.

Provenance: Sotheby’s London 24 January 1967 lot 503; Donald Hodson collection. References: Burden ‘The Origins of the ‘miniature’ Speed atlas. The first atlas of the British Isles’ in ‘Mappae Antiquae Liber Amicorum Günter Schilder’ pp. 497-508; Keuning, J. ‘Pieter van den Keere’, Imago Mundi XV (1960), pp. 66-72; Van der Krogt 373:01; Schilder MCN VIII pp. 76, 341-2 & 381; Shirley (1991) 223; Shirley (1993) World 132; Shirley (2004) T.Kee 1a; Skelton (1970) 4, Appendix A p. 210 listing this example; Streitberger (1975) Imago Mundi 27 pp. 47-51; Wallis, Helen, ‘Introduction.’ In Atlas of the British Isles by Pieter van den Keere, c. 1605. Lympne Castle, Kent: Harry Margary, 1972; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011) pp. 364-5.

CLAESZ, Cornelis

(Maps of Counties)

Cornelis Claesz, Amsterdam, c.1602
ONE OF ONLY 8 KNOWN EXAMPLES OF THE SO-CALLED PROOF MINIATURE SPEED. Octavo (155 x 205 mm.), twentieth century full calf, gilt panelled boards, with gilt title to the spine, marbled endpapers, the whole housed in an open cloth slipcase. With 46 maps, each laid in later paper, the world in half, some loss to Overrardt map, edges frayed to Timea and Ultonia with some loss, with pagination in an early hand, with manuscript notations to some of the Welsh maps, 7 maps with early manuscript notes to the verso.
Stock number: 9487


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