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Speed's Carte à Figure of Italy

SKU: 9622

Speed's Carte à Figure of Italy

Date of publication:

Place of publication:


  • George Humble
  • Colour:


  • John Speed
  • Cutting A Fine Figure

    Speed’s 'carte à figure' of Italy features eight costume vignettes and six city views around the edges, with the coats of arms of Corsica and Sardinia.

    Our map of Italy appeared in Speed’s ‘Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World’, the first world atlas attributed to an Englishman, first published in 1627; though many of the plates were engraved in Amsterdam, mostly by Abraham Goos.

    The mapmaker

    John Speed (1552-1629) is unquestionably the most significant English map-maker of the seventeenth-century. The first edition of Speed's ‘Theatre’ was published in 1612. It was the first atlas of the British Isles, and the first attempt made by an Englishman to match the achievements of the great continental publishing houses – although much of the engraving of the copper plates was performed in Amsterdam by Jodocus Hondius.

    Condition & Materials 

    Copper engraving, 39 x 51 cm, modern hand-colour, closed nicks and tears to left hand margin, strengthened on verso, with two areas of loss to upper left hand margin (one just touching the printed border) made good; English text to verso.