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].\n\n4 parts in one volume, 2o (414 x 287 mm). Engraved portrait frontispiece, engraved architectural title, engraved Royal Achievements bu Jodocus Hondius dated 1611, letterpress list of kingdoms and woodcut royal arms, three letterpress section titles with woodcut borders, three woodcut royal arms, 67 double-page engraved maps, most by Jodocus Hondius, woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials, mounted on guards throughout (some marginal repaired tears, a few maps trimmed closely). 19th-century calf (some wear, covers detached). Provenance: J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville Kentucky (bookplate, library markings at foot of spine).\n\nFIRST EDITION OF THE EARLIEST PUBLISHED ATLAS OF THE ENTIRE BRITISH ISLES. "John Speed spent over 15 years assembling material for his famous publication" (Shirley). He employed one of the most skilled Dutch engravers of his time, Jodocus Hondius. "All the maps -- but particularly the general ones -- bear evidence of Hondius' skill in arranging and depicting the views, costumed figures, coats of arms, coins and other historical details. In addition, Hondius artistically incorporated cherubs, ships, sea monsters and elegant cartouche detail without overcrowding the overall layout" (Shirley). The work was issued to accompany Speed's History of great Britaine, comprising its first four books. (See following lot). Chubb 22; Shirley Early printed Maps of the British Isles (316-318); Skelton 7; STC 23048.\n\n[Bound with:]\n\nSPEED, John. A Prospect of the most famous parts of the World. London: John Dawson for George Humble, 1631.\n\n2o. Printed title with list of maps, 22 engraved double-page maps. (Some light offsetting, a few marginal tears, a few maps trimmed closely.)\n\nSecond edition of the earliest published atlas by an Englishman, and conceived as a supplement to the Theatre as stated on the title-page. The world map, presumably by Abraham Goos, shows California as an island, and the elaborate border includes the portraits of four circumnavigators. Most maps are within Speed's characteristic border of costumed figures, views and plans of major cities. The Map of America "is the first published in an atlas to depict California as an island, and an accurate east coast of North America, particularly between Chesapeake Bay and Cap Code" (Burden). [Bound With:] FARRER, John. A mapp of Virginia. London, 1651. A curious map depicting Virginia with the Atlantic to the East and "The Sea of China and the Indies" just to the West of the Appalachian Mountains. "In the mid seventeenth century there was still a firm belief in an easy passage by some means to the China Sea, or Pacific Ocean" (Burden 303). The map of Canaan is dated 1651. Burden 217; Shirley 317; STC 23043.