Rare Roger Rea Edition of Speed’s map of Scotland

By SPEED, John, 1665 

The Kingdome of Scotland Performed by Iohn Speed

British Isles Scotland
  • Author: SPEED, John
  • Publication place: [London]
  • Publisher: and are to be sold by Roger Rea ye Elder & younger at ye Golden Crosse in Cornhill against the Exchange
  • Publication date: 1665.
  • Physical description: Double-page engraved map, with fine contemporary outline hand colour, upper left and right margins skilfully repaired.
  • Dimensions: 410 by 550mm. (16.25 by 21.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1794

Notes

This edition of the map is justly famous for the radical alterations made to its borders when compared with those of the early editions of the map. In this edition, the royal coats of arms are replaced with Scottish insignia, and the figures of James VI & I and family are replaced with figures of lowly Scottish characters (“James King of Great Britain, France & Ireland”, Henry Prince of Wales & Ireland”; Anna Queene of Great Britain, France & Ireland”; and Charles Duke of York and Albany” are replaced by illustrations of A Scotch Man”; A Highland man”; A Scotch Woman”; and A Highland Woman”).

The map bears 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.