The Theatre of the Empire of Great-Britain: Presenting an Exact Geography of the Kingdom of England, Scotland, Ireland, and the Isles Adjoyning: As Also the Shires, Hundreds, Cities and Shire-Towns Within the Kingdom of England and Principality of Wales; With a Chronology of the Civil-Wars in England, Wales and Ireland. Together With a Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World, Viz. Asia, Africa, Europe, America. With These Empires and Kingdoms Therein Contained; Viz. Grecia, Roman-Empire, Germany, Bohemia, France, Belgia, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Denmark, Poland, Persia, Turkish-Empire, Kingdom of China. Tartaria, Summer-Islands
Perhaps the most famous and enduring atlas of Great Britain published in the 17th Century. The first English world atlas folio atlas, two works, comprising five parts, in one volume (425 by 280mm), incorporating 96 double-page engraved maps.
This was the last major updated edition of Speed's atlas. The work was first issued in 1612 as an English county atlas. The additions referred to include distance tables of five of the principal roads from London, in the Theatre, and maps of Virginia, New England, Jamaica, Barbados and Carolina in the Prospect.
In this new edition are added; in the theatre of Great-Britain, the principal roads, and their branches leading to the cities and chief towns in England and Wales; with their computed distances. In a new and accurate method. ... In the prospect of the world. The Empire of the Great Mogul, with the rest of the East-Indies. Palestine, ... Empire of Russia.
Second book: containing the principality of WalesBrief description of the civil wars, and battails fought in England, Wales, and Ireland
Third book: containing a general view of the kingdom of Scotland
Fourth book: containing the kingdom of Ireland
Prospect of the most famous parts of the world
With additional engraved title page (plate) signed: R: White sculp. The title page includes allegorical figures showing a Roman, a Britain, a Saxon, a Dane and a Norman - each representing the conquerors of Great Britain, each in their traditional costume. The pillars, pedestals and columns are intricately decorated with cupids' heads, grotesques, herms, putti, coins, crests and other figures.
The dominate figure above the title is an indigenous Briton, taken from an engraving that was first published by Theodor de Bry in 1590. Fine vignettes of the City of London, and a ship are on the foundation. According to Shirley, this sheet may have been engraved by Renold Elstack, due to the stylistic similarities to other works he engraved for Speed. George Humble's imprint is at the bottom. Engraved by R. White, for Thomas Bassett and Richard Chiswell.
The magnificent coat of arms of James I dominate the heraldic frontispiece - "The Achievement Of Our Soveraigne King James As He Nowe Beareth With The Armes Of The Severall Kings That Have Aunciently Raigned Within His Nowe Dominions". Around this central panel are 24 smaller shields of parts of the realm from ancient times, including shields denoting the Romans, Saxons and Normans, amongst others. The page is signed by Jodocus Hondius, the engraver, and is dated 1614.
Maps ornamented with the arms of the country and of the nobility, and have border illustrations of figures in national costumes and of views of cities. Many maps have, also, plans of cities, views of castles, cathedrals and other interesting features.
, 94, [47 maps], , 97-126, [14 maps], 5-6, [1 map], 5-8, , 129-132, [1 map], , 135-146, [5 maps], , 56, [28 maps],  p.,  leaves of plates : ill., coats of arms, tables ; 43 cm (fol.)
Bound in burgundy cloth covered boards. All maps are hand-colored.
English short title catalogue, R13825
Chubb, T. Printed maps in the atlases of Great Britain and Ireland, p. 37-40
Wing, D.G. Short-title catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and British America, and of English books printed in other countries, 1641-1700 (CD-ROM. 1996), entry S4886
Publisher: London; : Printed for Thomas Basset at the George in Fleet-street, and Richard Chiswel at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul's Church-yard, MDCLXXVI. 
Date Added: 2019-07-30
Speed, John. The Theatre of the Empire of Great-Britain. London; : Printed for Thomas Basset at the George in Fleet-street, and Richard Chiswel at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul's Church-yard, MDCLXXVI. . 1676.
Speed, John (1676) The Theatre of the Empire of Great-Britain. London; : Printed for Thomas Basset at the George in Fleet-street, and Richard Chiswel at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul's Church-yard, MDCLXXVI. .
Speed, John, The Theatre of the Empire of Great-Britain. London; : Printed for Thomas Basset at the George in Fleet-street, and Richard Chiswel at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul's Church-yard, MDCLXXVI. . 1676.