FOURTH AND FINAL STATE OF SPEED’S WORLD MAP
A New and Accurat map of the World Drawne according to ye truest Descriptions, latest Discoveries & best Observations yt having beene made by English or Strangers. 1651. Are to be Sold by Tho: Bassett in Fleet street and Ric: Chiswell in St. Pauls Church yard. From ‘A Prospect of the most Famous parts of the World,’ London, 1676
15 5/8” x 20 5/8”. Later hand color. Text on the reverse follows the 1626 edition, but has been reset. Excellent condition.
Speed’s Prospect was the first world atlas published in England, and the maps are remarkable for the period in that they have English text on the back. Shirley notes that “circulation was not international in the same sense as the bilingual atlases of Mercator-Hondius or Blaeu and copies of the Prospect are relatively infrequently found outside the UK. In consequence, demand for the world map – long recognized as a very desirable collector’s item- has enhanced its rarity value.” With the companion map of America, Speed’s world map is “the first published in an atlas to depict California as an island” -- Burden. Its geography for the most part is directly or indirectly taken from Dutch sources. The legends and some of the ornamentation were adapted from William Grent’s 1625 world map, including the astronomical drawings of eclipses and diagrams of heavenly spheres. The four allegorical figures of the elements (fire, earth, air and water), and the two celestial hemispheres were taken from Hondius’ world map of 1617. There are four medallion portraits of Drake, Magellan, Cavendish and VanderNoort. The fourth and final state. The greater part of the impressions with the Rea brothers’ imprint were destroyed in the Great Fire of London, 1666. The plates for Speed’s atlas were later sold to Bassett and Chiswell, who erased the Rea’s imprint and added their own. No other changes were made, and the date 1651 was preserved. The 1676 edition of the Prospect was the last.
Shirley, The Mapping of the World, 317; Shirley, Maps in the Atlases of the British Library, T.SPE-2f.
Inventory No. 8189