Bird’s-eye view of Windsor Castle


John Norden began his career as a surveyor although today he is better known as a cartographer. His county maps, first produced in the 1590s as part of his unfinished Speculum Britanniae, were the first to include roads and separate sheets for keys. Although only maps of a few counties were ever published, they were used by William Camden in his Britannia and John Speed in his Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine, and many later maps were based on Norden’s.

It was as Surveyor of the Crown Woods and Forests in southern England that Norden produced his Description of the Honor of Windesor, from which this Harley Manuscripts bird’s-eye view of Windsor Castle is taken. The manuscript was executed for James I, with Norden receiving a payment of £200. In the same year he published The Surveyor’s Dialogue to highlight the usefulness of his profession. The view, ‘an ample and trew description of your Ma’ties Castle of Windesor, the chappelles and of all other materiall thinges thereof, as far as by a topographicall deliniation can be expressed’, is brightly coloured and extremely detailed.

Full title:
Bird’s-eye view of Windsor Castle
Watercolour / Parchment / View
John Norden
© British Library
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Harley MS 3749, f.3

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