Full Title:

A New Map of East India




John Speed (1552 - 1629)


Minor chips and tears to sheet edge as usual, otherwise in good condition, with centre fold as issued. Wide margins.


Hand coloured copper engraving.

Image Size: 

x 382mm

Paper Size: 

x 445mm


John Speed’s famous map of Asia published in A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World. The map has the imprint of Thomas Bassett and Richard Chiswell within the title, and at lower left that of the engraver Francis Lamb. The map first appeared in the enlarged edition of Speed’s world atlas in 1676.

Detailed map of Asia, extending from India to Japan and south to Timor by one of the most influential map makers of the C17th. Decorative title comprising of turbaned Oriental figures. Speed was born in Cheshire, followed his father’s trade of a tailor until the age of fifty. His wife bore him 12 sons & 6 daughters! A keen amateur historian & mapmaker who was given an allowance by Sir Greville to devote his whole attention to his research. 

From best edition of the most influential atlas by England’s greatest cartographer. John Speed’s fame, which continues to this day, lies with his two atlases, The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine (first published 1612), and the Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World (1627 & 1676). The map was published posthumously in the 1676 edition of the Prospect , with 8 new maps (on 7 mapsheets) not previously available in the first edition: New England (Burden 455), Virginia and Maryland (Burden 456), Carolina (Burden 457), Jamaica and Barbados, East India, Russia and Canaan. 

‘The 1676 edition of John Speed’s famous atlas marked the high point of its publishing history’ (Burden).

English text on verso with page numbers 51 & 52.

References: Durand p.104, Pl.31, Ill p.105, Parry p.135, Pl. 5.3, Quirino p.109, Not in Sweet 

Collections: David Rumsey Collection – List No: 12058.219, National Library of Australia – Bib ID3428400, Stanford Library – purl.stanford.edu/kn459jy2652, 


John Speed (1563-1612)

Speed was born at Cheshire, and went into his father’s tailoring business. While working in London, his knowledge of history led him into learned circles and he came to the attention of Sir Fulke Greville, who subsequently made him an allowance to enable him to devote his whole attention to research. As a reward for his earlier efforts, Queen Elizabeth granted Speed the use of a room in the Custom House.

Speed began his Historie of Great Britaine, which was first published in 1611 and is an important record of the British towns depicted on his maps . In 1627 George Humble published the Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World, printed by John Dawson. This is the world map from this atlas with Speed’s name in the title, but not attributed to him.  His atlas The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine was published in 1610-11, and contained the first series of individual county maps of England and Wales. It also included maps of Ireland and Scotland.

In 1627, two years before his death, Speed published Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World which was the first world atlas produced by an Englishman. Like his other publications Speed used the Dutch map engraver Jodocus Hondius to engrave the plates. 

Speeds maps rightly hold a premier place in the cartography of Britain, with their superb embellishments and fine engraving made at the height of the Golden Age of mapmaking.

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