Speed’s map of Bohemia
By SPEED, John , 1626, [but 1627-1632].

Bohemia Newly described by Iohn Speed. Anno Dom: 1626.

Eastern Europe Europe
  • Author: SPEED, John
  • Publication place: [London]
  • Publisher: Are to be sold in pops-head Alley by G. Humble
  • Publication date: 1626, [but 1627-1632].
  • Physical description: Double-page engraved map.
  • Dimensions: 405 by 525mm. (16 by 20.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 21918


A map of Bohemia, one of the kingdoms that made up the Holy Roman Empire, now the Czech Republic, from the first atlas compiled and published by an Englishman, Speed’s ‘Prospect’. The upper border contains city views of Prague, Chomutov, Slaný, Louny, and Polná; the side borders show figures dressed in regional costume.

Accompanying text in English, ‘The Description of the Kingdome of Bohemia’, is printed on the reverse.

John Speed (1552-1629) was the outstanding cartographer of his age. By trade a merchant tailor, but by proclivity a historian, it was the patronage of Sir Fulke Greville, poet and statesman, that allowed him to pursue this interest in earnest. His ‘Theatre of Great Britain’, first published in 1611 or 1612, was the first large-scale printed atlas of the British Isles. The ‘Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World’, from which the present work is drawn, appeared in 1627, bound with the ‘Theatre’, and is the first world atlas compiled by an Englishman to be published in England. Engraved in Amsterdam, many of the maps are anglicized versions of works by Dutch makers in distinctive carte-à-figure style, featuring borders with figures in local costume and city views.


  1. Chubb, XXV
  2. Shirley [Atlases], T.SPE-2a.