SAXTON, Christopher (ca 1542 - 1610). Essexiae Comitat’ Nova vera ac absaluta descripto. London: Christopher Saxton, 1579.

$ 8,500.00

SAXTON, Christopher (ca 1542 - 1610). Essexiae Comitat’ Nova vera ac absaluta descripto.

London: Christopher Saxton, 1579.

Single sheet (16 ½ x 21 ¾ inches, full margins showing plate mark on all but top edge which is trimmed to within the neat line along the top edge, old central fold). A fine engraved map of Essex, showing bordering parts of Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Middlesex and Kent with the North Sea to the East. Centered on the county town of Chelmsford the map also shows London in the South West and Ipswich in the North East. There are galleons approaching the estuaries of the four rivers shown on the map which are the Thames, Crouch, Blackwater and Orwell. Decorated with the arms of Elizabeth I in the upper right, the title within a fine elaborate mannerist strapwork cartouche, center right above the arms of Seckford at the scale of 1/188,269; all with exceptionally fine contemporary hand coloring in full. (Small areas of early repair.)

An exceptionally attractive example of the first edition of Saxton’s map of Essex. Christopher Saxton, working under the patronage of Thomas Seckford began surveying the counties of England and Wales around 1570, with the first maps produced bearing a date of 1574.  On the completion of surveying an individual county, that particular map was printed and sold separately. By the year of 1579, Saxton who is widely considered to be the father of British cartography had completed his survey of England and Wales, and published one of the very first national atlases anywhere in the world. An exciting and audacious project such as Saxton's was not without its problems. From quite early on, the project began to run into financial difficulties, and none other than the reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth I intervened, granting Saxton a license to produce and print maps (a patent if you will) for a full 10 year period.

Any map by executed by Christopher Saxton is scarce, by virtue of its age and the relatively small number of copies ever printed. The map we take great pleasure in offering to you is Saxton's map of Essex, one of the oldest English county’s. This map is of special importance as it shows the familiar last section of the Thames’s course flowing from London out into the North Sea with the north bank of the river marking the southern border of Essex. Tracing the path of the Thames past the river boats brings you to the next subtle embellishment of this wonderful tutor map as you are met with a sea monster off the shore from Southend-on-Sea. Physical features of the county like; hills, rivers, woods and even the county’s renowned royal forests allocated to the local aristocracy are all wonderfully displayed to both the casual observer and enthusiast alike.

Description prepared for Arader Galleries by Jack Rogers (Eton College, Oxford University Geography Undergraduate)