Frontispiece to Britannia


This second state of this print from the King's Topographical Collection by Wenceslaus Hollar, who had already illustrated John Ogilby’s translation of Virgil, was used as the frontispiece to Ogilby’s road atlas Britannia. The three cherubs floating in the sky hold scrolls with maps of Yorkshire, London and ‘the Road from London to Barwick’. The royal standard flies above a fortress from which two horsemen depart after checking their prospective route on a map. Maps might also be the subject of the animated discussion among the men sitting at a table covered with surveying instruments and a globe in the foreground. Surveying and measuring take place in the fields beyond, near a flock of sheep grazing peacefully. Fishing and hunting are other activities depicted in the background, with travelling and transportation alluded to by the carriage driving up a meandering road and the distant view of a busy fortified harbour.

Full title:
Britannia ... or an illustration of the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales: by a geographical and historical description of the principal roads thereof, etc.
1675, London
Etching / Engraving / View
John Ogilby
© British Library
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library

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