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Speed, John

Holy iland - Garnsey - Farnsey - Iarsey

Antique Holy iland - Garnsey - Farnsey - Iarsey

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  • G. Humble , London
  • 1626
  • Antique Map, map
  • Copper engraving / later handcolor
  • Channel Islands
  • 1626
  • 382 by 508mm (15 by 20 inches).
  • 23758
  • In excellent condition. 382 by 508mm (15 by 20 inches).

Article description

Article description

Copper engraving, hand colored in outline and wash.

Original antique copper engraving, hand colored in outline and wash. 

John Speed (1551 or 1552 – 28 July 1629) was an English cartographer and historian. He is, alongside Christopher Saxton, one of the best known English mapmakers of the early modern period.[Speed was born in the Cheshire village of Farndon and went into his father Samuel Speed's tailoring later in life.

While working in London, Speed was a tailor and member of a corresponding guild, and came to the attention of "learned" individuals. These individuals included Sir Fulke Greville, who subsequently made him an allowance to enable him to devote his whole attention to research. By 1598 he had enough patronage to leave his manual labour job and "engage in full-time scholarship". As a reward for his earlier efforts, Queen Elizabeth granted Speed the use of a room in the Custom House. Speed, was, by this point, as "tailor turned scholar" who had a highly developed "pictorial sense".

In 1575, Speed married a woman named Susanna Draper in London, later having children with her. These children definitely included a son named John Speed, later a "learned" man with a doctorate, and an unknown number of others, since chroniclers and historians cannot agree on how many children they raised. Regardless, there is no doubt that the Speed family was relatively well-off.

By 1595, Speed published a map of biblical Canaan, in 1598 he presented his maps to Queen Elizabeth, and in 1611–1612 he published maps of Great Britain, with his son perhaps assisting Speed in surveys of English towns.

At age 77 or 78, in August 1629, Speed died. He was buried alongside his wife in London's St Giles-without-Cripplegate church on Fore Street. Later on, a memorial to John Speed was also erected behind the altar of the church. According to the church's website, "[His was] one of the few memorials [in the church] that survived the bombing" of London during The Blitz of 1940–1941 ... The website also notes that "[t]he cast for the niche in which the bust is placed was provided by the Merchant Taylors' Company, of which John Speed was a member". His memorial brass has ended up on display in the Burrell Collection near Glasgow. (Wikipedia)

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