|Joseph F.W. Des Barres (ca. 1729-1827)
“A View of Boston,” from The Atlantic Neptune
Viewing Boston from the ocean was not a novel concept originated by 19th century bird’s eye view artists. This Revolutionary War era landscape scene, published with a collection of nautical charts, depicted Boston Harbor as it would have appeared to approaching ships.
While not technically a map or chart, coastal and headland views were also considered navigational aids. Such graphic images assisted ship captains in identifying prominent landmarks as they entered the harbor. Clearly visible on Boston’s late 18th century skyline are numerous church spires and a flag on Beacon Hill.