The first printed map of Somerset
By SAXTON, Christopher, 1579
[Somerset] Somersetensem Comitat (agri fertilitate Celebrem) hec ob oculos ponit Tabula.
- Author: SAXTON, Christopher
- Publication place: London
- Publisher: Christopher Saxton
- Publication date: 1579.
- Physical description: Double-page engraved map, fine original hand-colour in outline, some light offsetting, contemporary annotation on verso in brown ink, some light marginal soiling.
- Dimensions: 420 by 550mm. (16.5 by 21.75 inches).
- Inventory reference: 15366
Alongside the galleons, boats and huge fish that adorn the sea to the North West of Somerset, Saxton has included an elaborate cartouche, flanked by putti and majestically illustrated in bold red, blue and green. This contains the Latin county name, with the royal coat-of-arms presented above it, surmounted by a crowned lion. The map also features another coat-of-arms, that of Saxton’s patron, Thomas Seckford, in the lower right corner, complete with his family’s earlier Latin motto. On the opposite side, the map’s scale is presented, accompanied by two banners identifying Saxton as the cartographer and Leonard Terwoort as the engraver. Tertwoort was a Flemish craftsman who worked alongside other engravers to produce the 35 copper plates from which the ‘Atlas of England and Wales’ was printed. Additionally, like all the maps in the atlas, this map bears Saxton’s watermark, a bunch of grapes, to identify the work as original.