Boston Public Library

View the Exhibition Part Two: Eastern Seaboard of Colonial America

The period following the French and Indian War (1754-1763) was a time of change and discovery in North America. In this display of charts, views, and maritime objects, we look at the decade following the war, when Britain set out to accurately chart the coast and survey the inland areas of their new resource-rich empire in Atlantic Canada, as well as the eastern seaboard extending from New England to the West Indies. The resulting charts were published collectively by Joseph Frederick Wallet Des Barres in The Atlantic Neptune, a maritime atlas which set the standard for nautical charting for nearly half a century.

Part two of the exhibition, showing August 1st through November 3, focuses geographically on the eastern seaboard from New England to the West Indies. Maps and views of major port cities along the coast will be included, as well as inland areas. These charts were produced just in time for use by the British Navy, as the American Revolutionary War was beginning.

The development of nautical chart making is described throughout the exhibition, and is illustrated in a number of examples. We will also consider the artistic marvel that is The Atlantic Neptune, and discuss the processes involved in the production of such an atlas, from surveying to engraving.

Printable gallery guide

Click on the thumbnails below to view the maps.

Grierson George Grierson
A Chart of the Sea Coast of New Found Land…, 1749
popple Henry Popple
A Map of the British Empire in America…, 1733
portsmouth J.F.W. Des Barres
Detail from A View of Portsmouth in Piscataqua River, 1781
plymouth bay J.F.W. Des Barres
Chart of Plymouth Bay, 1781
newport J.F.W. Des Barres
A Plan of the Town of Newport in the Province of Rhode Island, 1781
falmouth 1 J.F.W. Des Barres
Falmouth Harbour, 1777 [1st state]
falmouth2 J.F.W. Des Barres
Falmouth Harbour, 1777 [2nd state]
de brahm florida John Gerar William De Brahm
Chart of the South End of East Florida, and Martiers, 1772
port royal J.F.W. Des Barres
Port Royal in South Carolina, 1777
montego bay J.F.W. Des Barres
A Chart of Montego Bay…, 1780
coast new england J.F.W. Des Barres
The Coast of New England, 1781
bay of fundy United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
Bay of Fundy to Block Island, 1887. Updated to 2013
chatham to narragansett J.F.W. Des Barres
[Coast of New England from Chatham Harbor to Narragansett Bay], 1781
martha's vineyard Below the Boat
Martha’s Vineyard, 2012
nantucket island Below the Boat
Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, 2012
views ny J.F.W. Des Barres
[Five views of New York and approaches], 1777
ny harbour J.F.W. Des Barres
A Chart of New York Harbour…, 1779
tiddeman Mark Tiddeman
A draught of New York from the Hook to New York Town , 1737