Antique Maps by Saxton/Kip
William Kip is perhaps best known for his work published in William Camden's remarkable atlas, Britannia. William Hole and William Kip set to work to re-engrave Christopher Saxton's stunning 1574 collection of county maps. Keeping much of the detail the same on these significantly smaller versions, Kip and Hole give credits to Saxton on some, but not all, of the counties. For the uninitiated, Kip and Hole's county maps are often mistaken for the older, and much more valuable and larger Saxton maps.
Their first edition for Camden's Britannia, printed in 1607 had heavy, bold Latin text on the reverse of each map. Unfortunately, in some cases, often those with larger blank areas or minimally engraved areas of sea, this bold Latin print tended to obscure some details on the front of the maps. This problem was solved with the next edition of Britannia, published in 1610 without text on the reverse, and 1637 with an engraved plate number in the lower left corners of the maps.
Little detailed records exist for Kip's early life, but he is thought to have originated from the Low Countries, hence he was possibly Dutch or Flemish, but he is often cited as an English engraver.
Maps of this period often have names of places that are quite different to modern spelling, this is because there was no standardisation of names of places & it was done by asking someone what the place was called, hence why some are close & some are very different, like Euill for Yeovil, which changed constantly in maps up until the late 1700’s when the Ordinance Survey was being produced & names were being standardised.
The accuracy of this map is surprisingly good considering it was surveyed using basic map surveying techniques & equipment & by walking. However, on the Dorset maps, the most interesting way of seeing the increased accuracy is to look at the difference in shape of Portland in this map compared to later maps, where it becomes thinner & more elongated.