Copper engraving, 38.5 x 31.5 cm, engraved by John Sturt, modern hand-colour, blank verso.
Morden’s clear and elegant depiction of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy, the name traditionally given to the seven principal kingdoms which flourished in England between the collapse of Roman Britain and the 10th century. Beneath the scale Sturt has provided a key to symbols and examples of the Saxon lettering used, with modern equivalents.
Robert Morden’s maps were engraved to illustrate Gibson’s edition of William Camden’s Britannia, first published in 1695 and reprinted in 1722, 1753 and 1772. Camden was an Elizabethan historian who wrote a county by county description of England. An illustrated edition of his work with maps by Kip and Hole was published in 1607, but by the late seventeenth century it had become scarce and expensive. Gibson completely revised the text and commissioned new maps from Morden, which are known for their clarity and elegance. The latest research on Morden himself suggests a north country origin, possibly Yorkshire. He was part of Robert Hooke’s circle, taking coffee with him at Garraway’s and Mann’s, and Samuel Pepys was among his customers. Shirley, Printed Maps of the British Isles 1650-1750, Morden 12; Skelton, County Atlases, 117.