Kent Antique of the Month

PUBLISHED: 12:18 31 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:18 31 March 2014

John Speed map of Kent, 1611

John Speed map of Kent, 1611

Archant

Tony Pratt of The Canterbury Auction Galleries explains why some maps are collectors’ items

The father of English cartography was Christopher Saxton (c. 1542-1610) the first man to survey and map England and Wales, but at 15 shillings apiece, his atlas was for only the richest of travellers - until the appearance of John Speed’s more affordable alternative.

Tailor’s son Speed (1552-1629) was fascinated by history and became a member of the Society of Antiquaries, which fuelled his interest in genealogy and cartography.

His first work, a wall map of the biblical Canaan, gained him the patronage of Sir Fulke Greville, a friend of Sir Philip Sydney, one of the leading members of the court of Queen Elizabeth I and an honorary appointment to the Customs Service.

Now Speed was able to devote his time to map making. He toured extensively throughout the British Isles, recording in meticulous detail each county, highlighting its cities, towns, important buildings and major rivers.

The resulting maps, today so collectable, are believed to be the earliest recorded plans for many of the towns featured. The first appeared in 1608, and by 1612, all 67 were published in atlas form under the title ‘The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain’. A huge success, editions sold out over the next 100 years.

We sold a copy of his ‘Kent, With Her Cities and Earles Described and Observed,’ published probably in 1611, for £660 and, judging by the success of the recent sale of a single-owner collection, we have eager buyers waiting for others.

Call Chis Wacker on 01227 763337 for more information.

More from Out & About

Kent Life looks at the environmental impact of the clothes we wear and why we need to be checking our shopping habits and wardrobes

Read more
Mon, 18:38

We’ve teamed up with Island Cottage Holidays and Isle of Wight Distillery to offer one lucky winner the chance to win £500 of holiday vouchers and a gin set

Read more
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Animals are always a source of joy so we have gathered some zoos and wildlife parks across the country (and beyond) that are livestreaming animal enclosures

Read more
ThereWithYou

Towered over by its iconic cathedral, the streets of this city have so many stories to tell

Read more

With Ash dieback on the increase, we look at how a Kent project is celebrating this much-loved tree’s special place in local culture

Read more
Monday, March 23, 2020

Thanks to the Guardians of the Deep project, Kent now has 11 Marine Conservation Zones

Read more
Friday, March 20, 2020

Kent has many castles and stately homes, but we have hand selected the ten best castles in Kent for you to visit

Read more

Admired by ancient royalty, set on a peaceful creek and packed with all kinds of attractions for modern visitors, we explore the historic streets of Faversham

Read more

With exciting news about the future of Betteshanger Park, a vibrant, artistic community - and great fishing, Deal stays true to its roots while appealing to modern visitors

Read more
Thursday, March 5, 2020

2020 marks 125 years since the founding of the National Trust - and Kent has always played a huge part in its story

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life