FIRST EDITION IN FULL EARLY COLOUR. This lovely map of the county of Middlesex is by arguably the most famous English cartographer, John Speed (1552-1629). Published in the ‘Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain’, 1612, it was the first atlas of the whole British Isles. He was a tailor by trade and had a fascination for history. He used numerous sources for the counties and had the plates engraved by Jodocus Hondius in Amsterdam. The book took several years to prepare hence earlier dates appear on some, here 1610. His maps are noted for being the first to include the boundaries of the hundreds, and for introducing town plans on the maps. This example is one of the more decorative bearing fine plans of London and Westminster after John Norden and vignettes of St. Peter’s and St. Pauls with descriptive texts above laid out in the form of a book. Provenance: private English collection. Shirley (2004) T.Spe 1b; Skelton (1970) 7.