SPEED, John (1552-1629). The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine: presenting an exact geography of the Kingdomes of England, Scotland, Ireland, and the Iles adioyning. London: John Sudbury & George Humble, 1611 [-1612]; [with:] The History of Great Britaine under the conquests of ye Romans, Saxons, Danes and Normans. London: George Humble, 1627 [but after 1629].
2 works in 2 volumes, 2° (421 x 275mm). Theatre: 4 parts in one volume, engraved architectural title, letterpress list of kingdoms and woodcut royal arms, three letterpress section titles with woodcut borders, three woodcut royal arms, 67 (of 68) double-page engraved maps, most by Jodocus Hondius, and including an additional double-page map of The Invasions of England and Ireland, engraved by Danckerts, on 3 inserted leaves comprising 4 pages of text titled A Briefe Description of the Civill Warres, woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials, mounted on guards throughout (lacking the map of Essex, some maps browned, most significantly in Part I, some margins partially reinforced, a few short unobtrusive tears); History: 6 parts in one volume, engraved portrait, engraved title, woodcut illustrations in text, 6 full-page and two half-page engraved plates, woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials. (Small tear to upper inner corner of p. 647, occasional light staining.) The two works uniformly bound in 18th-century speckled calf gilt, with later Botfield arms, flat spine in 6 compartments, with brown and blue leather lettering pieces, the others tooled in gilt, marbled endpapers (a few abrasions to covers, extremities rubbed). Provenance: '[?H.Plumer] (ownership inscription, on list of kingdoms dated 4 July 1795) -- Horatio Head (ownership inscription on both titles).
AN INTERESTING COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF JOHN SPEED'S THEATRE, assembled with the second edition of the History and uniformly bound in the 18th century. Three maps, Warwickshire, Cheshire and Lincolnshire, have been replaced. The first two were originally without text on the versos, which has been supplied (in the case of Warwickshire from a broadsheet dated 1615), and laid down with the lower margins extended. The map of Lincolnshire is of a slightly shorter sheet size, probably issued in 1627. Similarly, the Invasion map and accompanying text is also likely to have been supplied - these additional leaves were usually inserted between the Prospect, first issued in 1627, and the Theatre. The Theatre, 'the earliest published atlas of the British Isles' (Skelton) was issued to accompany Speed's History, comprising its first four books. Chubb 22; Skelton 7; STC 23048 (2)