Magazine article Geographical

Britain's Tudor Maps: County by County

Magazine article Geographical

Britain's Tudor Maps: County by County

Article excerpt

BRITAIN'S TUDOR MAPS: County by County

by John Speed; Batsford; 30 [pounds sterling] (hardback)

At the turn of the 17th century, the idea of travelling around Britain for pleasure, as opposed to for trade and governance, was starting to gain popularity. For the nobleman wishing to experience life outside his four walls, consulting John Speed's newly-published Theatre of Great Britain was the Tudor equivalent of plotting a route in Google Maps. Speed's masterfully detailed compendium of county guides has been carefully restored in this handsome volume.

'The whole country appeared to him an unending pageant,' writes Nigel Nicholson in the introduction, something demonstrated by the sheer exuberance of each of Speed's creations. The man seemed to loath wasted space and each map is replete with adornments, from plan views of prominent cities, to illustrations of battles fought in the region, to lists of local noble families and their crests or banners. There was a practical reason for such embellishments--each map had to fit on uniformly-sized pages and, with counties varying in size, the scale of each would change leaving ample space for decoration. …

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