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

A Newe Mape of Poland Done into English by I. Speede.

Europe Poland
  • 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 with hand-colour.
  • Dimensions: 400 by 510mm. (15.75 by 20 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 21925


A map of Poland from the first atlas compiled and published by an Englishman, Speed’s ‘Prospect’. A decorative border along the top of the map shows views of major cities, with a medallion portrait of, presumably, Sigismund III of Poland at the centre. Along each side are illustrated figures in regional costume, interspersed with the arms of Silesia and of Poland. 

Accompanying text in English, ‘The Description of Poland’, 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.