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Rare set of Roger Rea edition of Speed's maps of Ireland

[Ireland and its counties] 1. The Kingdome of Irland, Devided into Severall Provinces, and the againe devided into Counties, Newly described; 2. The Province of Ulster Described.
to be sold by Roger Rea the Elder and younger at ye Golden Crosse in Cornhill against ye Exchange,
Publication place
Publication date
410 by 550mm. (16.25 by 21.75 inches).
  • Description

    Two double-page engraved maps, all with fine contemporary outline hand colour, upper left and right margins skilfully repaired, map of Ireland with top margin trimmed to neatline.

  • Notes

    The maps bear the imprint of Roger Rea the Elder and Younger. The Reas had purchased the rights to Speed's work form William Garrett in 1589, who had previously purchased them from the widow of William Humble in the same year. Skelton suggests that the father and son intended a new edition of the atlas for the Restoration, of 1660. However, the atlas would appear not to have been published until 1665. This is borne out by an advertisement in the Term Catalogue by the subsequent owners of the plates, Thomas Bassett and Richard Chiswell, in 1675:

    "Mr John Speed's... Geography of the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland... together with his Prospect... all in one entire Volume, hath been, for seven Years past, out of Print, the greatest part of an Impression, then newly Printed, being destroyed by the late dreadful Fire, 1666". This is borne out by the rarity of the Rea edition of the atlas. There is evidence that they planned an edition of 1666, as there are impressions of Sussex, Buckingham and Derby, with Rea's imprint, which bear that date. Rea would later sell the plates to Bassett and Chiswell, who would publish a new edition in 1676.