A collection of over 50 historic maps of Staffordshire that chart the county’s evolution over a 300 year period is set to come under the hammer at a local auction house on Friday, 6th June 2014.
The maps – which were all part of a single, private collection – date from between 1577 and 1880; with the oldest an example of the very first printed map of Staffordshire. In addition to being highly decorative, the maps provide a fascinating insight into what has changed – and indeed stayed the same – in the county over the past 437 years, as Cuttlestones’ antique maps and books expert Rosie Blackburn explains:
“These maps are a delight for anyone with an interest in either local history or historic cartography. There’s a great tradition of county maps in this country; some very simple and others elaborate, with sizes ranging from that of a large postage stamp to huge, multi-sheet wall maps. Either way they are highly collectable items – although value does vary according to a range of factors including age, rarity and condition.
This collection is particularly interesting not only because it covers our local area, but that it includes an example of the first map ever to be printed of Staffordshire – before this, maps were hand drawn and therefore extremely expensive to produce. The development of Copperplate printing in the late 1570s saw the popularity of maps – and books in general – explode, and many of these county maps were originally published in atlases.
What I find especially interesting is looking for place names I recognise – many are still very similar with variations as spellings have become standardised – and also the county border. Staffordshire originally shared a border with Worcestershire, so the maps also include much of the area now thought of as the Black Country and Wolverhampton.”
Highlights from the collection include a 1577 map of Staffordshire by Christopher Saxton. Carrying the original hand colouring it is a fine example of the first known printed map of the county and is expected to achieve in excess of £1,000.
Another very interesting lot is a map of Staffordshire from the ‘Anonymous’ series of just twelve county maps that are now attributed to one William Smith (1550-1618); an antiquary and an office of the College of Arms. These particularly beautiful maps were engraved in the Netherlands and printed in London. The twelve copper plates were later acquired by one Peter Stent who went on to die of the plague in 1665 and from whose estate they, along with various other plates, were purchased by print seller John Overton, who then went on to publish various atlases and prints based on the ‘anonymous’ series.
The Staffordshire example set to come under the hammer in this auction is a third state John Overton version dated 1670; nevertheless a fine example and very rare, so is expected to achieve in excess of £400.
The entire collection of fifty maps will come up for sale at Cuttlestones Auctioneers and Valuers in Penkridge on Friday, 6th June 2014 with commission, telephone and live online bidding options available for those unable to attend the sale in person. The full catalogue will be available online at www.cuttlestones.co.uk from Friday 30th May 2014 and viewing will take place the day prior to and on the morning of the sale. For more information, call 01785 714905.