Single sheet (20 3/4 x 16 inches visible; 27 3/4 x 22 3/4 inches framed) Full margins showing the plate mark (1 ¼ inch tear at centerfold; slight browning and foxing to edge). A beautiful, uncolored map of Dorsetshyre, known today as Dorset. The county's border touches with parts of Somersetshyre, Devonshyre, Hamshire, Wiltshyre, and the British Sea. The map was engraved on copper plates by Jodocus Hondius in his workshop in Amsterdam in 1610 - it is truly a prime example of the level of craft and detail found in the Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine. The title cartouche fills the right corner with the Dorsetshyre crest sits proudly in the middle, overlooking the space below. This map in particular is a feast for the eyes as Hondius' refined engravings cover every area of the map. The pervasive and appealing Mannerist style of the period delights us through Hondius' engravings. An inset town plan of Dorchester can be found handsomely decorated with elegant fretwork borders, its crest, and a compass rose. The town plan is detailed, labeling several street, buildings, and ruins found on the outer banks. It is also noteworthy to mention this town plan was mapped by Speed himself, as indicated by the 'Scale of Pases' found on the bottom. The lower left of the map showcases the crests the early leading nobles of the Devonshyre County; including John Beauford was made the Marquess of Dorset in 1397 as a reward for helping free King Richard II free himself from the Lords of Appellant; and Thomas Sackville, a Member of Parliament and cousin to Anne Boleyn, earned the title of Earl of Dorset in 1604. The county maps found in the Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine were the first consistent attempt to show territorial divisions, but it was mainly Speed's town plans that were the major innovation and probably his greatest contribution to British cartography. Together, they formed the first printed collection of town plans of the British Isles and, for at least 50 of the 73 included in the Theatre, it was the first time these towns had been mapped. While being the first English atlas of the British Isles, Speed's Atlas was also one of the first attempts to accurately survey Ireland. The 1676 edition of Speed's atlas never came with original color. The uncolored editions of Speed's maps are classic and highly sought after, as they reflect the true quality of Speed's work unhindered by colorists. Thus, the examples of this map of Dorsetshyre should never be colored. Born in Cheshire, John Speed developed his interest in maps in the 1580s, after moving to London to pursue his passions outside of tailoring. He there joined the Society of Antiquaries, where his enthusiasm for cartography won him the attention of William Camden, Robert Cotton, and Sir Fulke Greville. By working with these figures, Speed was able to do a large amount of research for his own work. In 1596, Greville bequeathed Speed with an unlimited allowance to research, and then later write, the Historie of Great Britaine. It was during this project which Speed had the encouragement to add a cartographic supplement to the work - what we today know as his most famous atlas. After being first published in 1611-1612, the 'Theatre of Great Britain' dominated the seventeenth-century English map market, going through many reprints and editions. Thanks to the Atlas' success, Speed earned the title of England's most well-known Stuart period cartographer and his work became the blueprint for folio atlases until the mid-18th century. Historically, Speed is also noted for placing England into the mainstream of map publishing, which had been dominated by the Dutch since the late sixteenth century. This county map of the Dorsetshyre is an excellent element of the Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine, and would be an outstanding addition to all map collections.