The first printed map of Essex
By SAXTON, Christopher, 1579
[Essex] Essexiae comitat
nova vera ac absoluta descriptio An. Dnu. 1576
- Author: SAXTON, Christopher
- Publication place: London
- Publisher: Christopher Saxton
- Publication date: 1579.
- Physical description: Double-page engraved map, fine original full-wash colour, contemporary annotation on verso in brown ink.
- Dimensions: 420 by 550mm. (16.5 by 21.75 inches).
- Inventory reference: 15359
An elaborate cartouche dominates the lower right corner of the map, with the Latin county name flanked by caryatids and surmounted by the royal coat-of-arms and motto. Directly below this is the heraldic crest and early Latin motto of the Seckford family, in honour of Saxton’s patron, Thomas Seckford. Found underneath the crest is the map’s scale. A small banner along the lower border identifies Saxton as the cartographer, but the name of the engraver is omitted from this map. There is no evidence that Saxton himself took any part in the engraving of the copper plates used to make his maps, instead employing a small team of Fleming and English craftsmen. Additionally, like all the maps in Saxton’s ‘Atlas of England and Wales’, this map bears his watermark, a bunch of grapes, to identify the work as original.