Pieter van den Keere was born in Ghent in the Netherlands in about 1571, the son of a type-founder. At the age of 13 he came to England as a Protestant refugee with his sister Colette. Three years later Colette married Jodocus Hondius and it was with guidance from him that Pieter probably acquired his skill as an engraver. The three of them left England in 1593 to settle in Amsterdam
In 1599 Pieter started working on the engraving of a series of miniature county maps for a British Isles Atlas. They appeared in an atlas published by Willem Blaeu in 1617. Guileemi Camdeni Britannia in epitomes contracta
The plates were later acquired by the London publisher George Humble. He together with John Sudbury were the publishers of John Speeds Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine. Humble's outstanding success with this folio atlas prompted him to publish Keere's maps in a new form. Out went the Latin titles and in came English titles. Further maps were produced so there was one of each county. The title page to the atlas says from a "farr Larger Voulome Done by John Speed". The maps are therefore often referred to as 'Miniature Speeds'. The only relation to the Speed maps is that the text used in the Speed atlas was also used in the Keere atlas. The two works were also in the hands of the same publishers and the publishing of a new edition of Speed's Theatre usually coincided with a new edition of the miniature atlas.
An interesting addition to a county map collection. Still reasonable in price for their age thanks to their popularity and number of editions.
Guileemi Camdeni Britannia in epitomes contracta. Amsterdam. Willem J. Blaeu 1617
England, Wales and Ireland. London, George Humble, 1619
England, Wales Scotland and Ireland described. London, George Humble, 1627, 1632; William Humble, 1646; Roger Rea, 1662, 1665, 1666, 1668; Thomas Basset and Richard Chiswell, 1676
The copper plates that early maps were printed from do get worn over time and they can crack. The cracks can often be useful in dating a map. In County Atlases of the British Isles 1579 - 1703 by R. A. Skelton there is a useful table for the Keere maps. He lists nine Keere maps. Devonshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Suth Part of Scotland, Eastern part of Scotland and Connaught and provides details of the cracks for different editions. If the crack has stayed the same, if it has extended or if a new plate has been engraved.
44 1244 336004
I have been buying and selling antique maps since the early 1960's during which time I had a gallery in Watergate Street, Chester for 30 years. I am now able to offer through my websites a personal service to map and print collectors.