Canaan John Speede 1651

Catalog Number 52192
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1651, London


John Speede [1552-1629]

Short Title:


Full Title:

"Canaan/ Are to be sold by Tho. Basset in Fleet street, and Ric: Chiswell in St. Pauls Churchyard. Begun by Mr. John More continued and finished by John Speede/ Anno Domini 1651."


"Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine [with Prospect of the most famous parts of the World]," London, Thomas Basset and Richard Chiswell 1676." Thomas Basset (fl.1659-1692) was a London bookseller on Fleet Street and later, Westminster Hall. Richard Chiswell (1639-1711), was a publisher and map seller at "Two Angels and Crown Little Britain" and later at "Rose and Crown St. Paul’s Churchyard." John Speede (ney Speed) (c.1552-1629) was a renowned English historian and mapmaker in St. Paul’s, London. He was a friend of members of the Society of Antiquaries allowing him to mingle with some of the great scholars of the time. One such scholar from Cambridge was John More, who began the work on this map. After More’s death in 1592, Speede acquired the unpublished work and completed it. According to Nebenzahl, "Speed’s second foray into Holy Land mapping is...thorough. He improved and expanded the Tilleman Stella delineation [see also Ortelius’ "Palestine"], attempting to add every place name that appears in the Bible. The Old Testament themes, reinterpreted for the Christian reader, are engraved with exceptional skill."

Size of Map:

38.8 x 52 cm. approximately [15.25 x 20.5 in.]


According to Laor, this hand-coloured copperplate map "Shows part of Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula, and Palestine on both sides of the Jordan, divided among the Tribes [of Israel]. The shore line runs from "Biblus" [in the North] as far as the Nile Delta. Delineating the routes of the Exodus. The emblems of the Tribes appear on the map. Biblical illustrations scattered over the map, f.i., the encampment of the Tribes in the desert around the tabernacle [also depicted Jonah and the Whale, Paul on the road to Damascus with a quote coming from the clouds, Judas hanging from a tree, etc]. The title cartouche shows Moses and Aaron [each holding a tablet with Biblical verses]. At upper left inset: "Ieruslem," a plan of the ancient city surrounded by vignettes showing the Temple vessels [the city map with an alphabetical and numeric identification code being based upon the 1572 delineation of Ben Arias Montanus, and the vessels identified from Exodus and Numbers]." Cities with one "X" indicate a Levite city. Cities with two "X’s" indicate a city of refuge. Both the Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee are unusual in shape, and there is no river connecting the sea of Galilee with "The Middle Earth Sea" (Mediterranean), also unusual for its time. Map is in English. Map orientation finds the top border facing North. A compass rose is found directly below the Title cartouche along the upper centre border. A highly enumerated description of Biblical events organized according to divisions of land is found along the right border. A decorative cartouche entitled "To The Christian Reader," is found along the lower centre border. A scale of is found along the lower left border. Latitudinal and longitudinal lines are clearly provided with degrees along the borders. Plate mark is clearly visible. "The Description of Palestine," pages 54 and 55 found on verso. Provenance: old numbering system in pencil found on recto and verso.


Laor, no.737 (1671), pp.104; Nebenzahl, Plate 39 (1611), pp.108-109; Tooley’s, A-D, pp.95, 264; Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers Revised Edition Vol. (K - P), pp.278; Vol. (Q - Z) pp.193.

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