SAXTON, CHRISTOPHER    1576

Eng. Terwoort, Pub. Saxton

(476mm x 356mm)

The following is an excerpt from the book, the full section is only available in the printed version:

Christopher Saxton was born at Dunningley (or Wakefield), about 1542, and after completing his education at Cambridge, he became attached to the household of Thomas Seckford, Queen Elizabeth's Master of the Court of Requests and Surveyor of the Court of Wards and Liveries. When he was about 30 years of age Saxton began his survey of all the English and Welsh counties. Working under the patronage of Seckford and the authority of the Queen, Seckford’s open letter to local mayors and Justices ordered them to assist Saxton and guide him to any 'Towre, Castle or hill to view that countrey’.The speed with which Saxton completed his maps, and the fact that surveying was possible only in summer, suggest that he must have had some access to existing manuscript maps of the period. Nevertheless, the feat of surveying the whole of England and Wales in detail was a prodigious one, and the maps produced are remarkable for their excellence. The map of Cornwall is delightful in a variety of ways; engraved on copper by Lenaert Terwoort of Antwerp, one of the Flemish refugees whom Seckford was fortunate enough to find working in London, is decorated in the ornate style of the Flemish school, with strapwork, fish, flowers, birds, galleons and sea monsters, the latter obviously very real in the mind of the artist who drew them! The Latin title is surmounted by the Royal Tudor arms of Elizabeth, supported by the lion and the Wessex dragon, thus symbolising the Queen's patronage, while below the map appear the arms of Thomas Seckford in acknowledgment of the gentleman's part in commissioning and financing the survey and publication of the maps. The narrow border is apparently an imitation of a carved and painted wooden frame, while the cartouches combine architectural devices and natural forms in a striking, if somewhat incongruous, manner.​

1579   An Atlas of England and Wales, by Christopher Saxton, London.

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