17th century map of Cornwall features decorative detail
An ancient map of Cornwall, featuring detailed colour plates of the Cheesewring, Hurlers and Launceston Castle, is expected to fetch up to £1,500 at auction today.
Drawn by eminent cartographer Christopher Saxton in 1689, the map goes under the hammer at Lawrences in Crewkerne, South Somerset.
Richard Kay, of Lawrences Auctioneers, said old maps of Cornwall always created a flurry of interest from collectors both in this country and abroad.
"People in Cornwall are very, very proud of their history and heritage and therefore maps of Cornwall are always extremely desirable," he said.
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"Some areas of the country are more desirable than others and Cornwall, Yorkshire and the Home Counties fall into that category and are therefore the most sought after.
"This map is something of a rarity in the sense that it is in very good condition and of a very high quality.
"Saxton's work is very desirable not only because of its superb decorative detail, but because it is historically accurate as well."
Mr Kay added that old maps in general are popular because buyers like to analyse how places have changed over the centuries. "It is always interesting to see how some places were tiny and have developed into large towns, while once thriving communities have shrunk to nothing," he said.
"And sometimes you see very curious spellings, for instance, because cartographers or their assistants have relied on unreliable information."
This is true of a similar map – but of Devon – which is also up for auction by Lawrences today. Made by the same cartographer in the same year, it features a large coloured plate of "Excester" as the county town. This lot has an estimate of £400-600.