390 x 500 mm., early wash colour, three small fox marks, with the bunch of grapes watermark, otherwise in good condition.
The first printed map of the county. Christopher Saxton (c.1542-c.1610) was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire. While the details of his early life are sketchy, it is known that he attended Cambridge University, and in 1570 he was apprenticed as a map maker to John Rudd, Vicar of Dewsbury. In 1577 he received letters patent from Elizabeth I protecting his maps against plagiarism for the next ten years. As well as the Queen’s protection, Saxton also enjoyed the patronage of Thomas Seckford, Master of the Queen’s Requests, whose mottoes are found on the maps. Saxton began work on his county maps in about 1574. He had this map engraved in 1577 as dated in the title, but the atlas was not completed until 1579. It is engraved by Francis Scatter (fl.1577-78) who engraved just two plates for the Saxton atlas, the other being that of Cheshire. The first state of the map omits the Christopher Saxton imprint below the scale of miles, this is an example in the usual second state with it added. The atlas was priced at £5 in 1585. A very high price when Abraham Ortelius’ atlas was available for 10s. An instant success the plate was issued for over 120 years. Provenance: Sotheby’s 27 November 1978 lot 174; private English collection. Barber (2007) pp. 1623-31; Evans & Lawrence (1979); Hind (1952-55) vol. 1, p. 99; King (1988) no. 1; Lawrence (1984); Shirley (2007); Skelton (1970) 1; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).