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[Samuel Holland et al.] / “Lieutenant Knight of the Navy and Pilots,” THE COAST OF NEW ENGLAND. [London:] J.F.W. Des Barres, APRIL 24, 1776.Samuel Holland (1728-1801) was born in the Netherlands and served in the Dutch army’s engineers. Subsequently he followed a well-trodden path, enlisting in the British Army. With his military background, he presumably went to the officer training college at Woolwich, before being commissioned into the 60th (Royal American) Regiment, whereupon he was sent to North America for active service in the French and Indian War. While ostensibly an infantry regiment, and symptomatic of the British Army’s casual approach to the military business of engineering and surveying, the Royal Americans provided a home for some of the greatest mapmakers in North America in the colonial period, notably J.F.W. des Barres, John Gerard William de Brahm and Thomas Hutchins, with Samuel Holland every bit their equal.

Holland was present at the capture of Louisbourg in 1758 and was heavily involved in the successful operations against Quebec in 1759, where he gave the legendary explorer James Cook training in surveying methods. As a reward for his distinguished service, in 1764 he was appointed Surveyor General of Quebec and of the Northern District of North America. Following the loss of the American colonies, he served as Surveyor-General of Upper and Lower Canada, until his retirement in 1792.

In his dual roles as Surveyor-General of Quebec and of the Northern District of North America, Holland was heavily involved in mapping Great Britain’s American colonies. His towering importance is demonstrated by the frequency with which the manuscript surveys of Holland and his assistants were used to underpin very many of the printed maps of the period, notably the charts published by J.F.W. des Barres in The Atlantic Neptune, an example which may be viewed here and here.



14 results, ordered by Publication Date

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[J.F.W. Des Barres, [A View of Portsmouth in Piscataqua River.] London: J.F.W. Des Barres, ca. 1780-81.]

Lovely aquatint view of Portsmouth New Hampshire from The Atlantic Neptune

A very rare and quite lovely aquatint view of Portsmouth Hew Hampshire, which supplanted an inferior line engraving of the same subject in The Atlantic Neptune. Background In 1764 the Lord Commissioners of Trade & Plantations appointed engineer Samuel Holland as Surveyor General of the Northern District of North America. In this capacity he was […]

$15,500
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[Samuel Holland et al.] / “Lieutenant Knight of the Navy and Pilots,” THE COAST OF NEW ENGLAND. [London:] J.F.W. Des Barres, APRIL 24, 1776.

Magnificent chart of the Coast of New England from The Atlantic Neptune

By far the finest 18th-century depiction of the Coast of New England issued in The Atlantic Neptune to meet the needs of British navigators during the American Revolution. Description This monumental chart depicts the complex coast of New England from Passamaquoddy Bay south and west to Narragansett Bay. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of depth soundings are given, […]

$27,500
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1776 J.F.W. Des Barres chart of Newburyport to Cape Elizabeth

A nice example of what was for its time the finest chart of the coasts of New Hampshire and southern Maine. It was issued in 1776 in The Atlantic Neptune, an atlas of the East Coast used by British captains during the Revolution. The charts were so respected that they remained in use for decades, often […]

$4,250
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[Charles Blaskowitz], A PLAN of the TOWN OF NEWPORT in the Province of Rhode Island. London: J.F.W. Des Barres, April 24, 1776.

Charles Blaskowitz plan of Newport, Rhode Island from The Atlantic Neptune

The earliest printed plan of Newport, Rhode Island, published for the use of British forces just months before they occupied the town in December 1776. Based on surveys by Charles Blaskowitz, one of the finest surveyors in the British military, it is also arguably the most appealing plan of Newport ever issued: The overall layout, […]

$19,500
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Samuel Holland et al., Massachusetts Bay. London: J.F.W. Des Barres, April 29, 1776.

Massachusetts Bay from The Atlantic Neptune

  A very fine chart of Massachusetts Bay from the Atlantic Neptune, issued for use of British navigators early in the Revolutionary War. The Atlantic Neptune is arguably the finest atlas of North American waters ever produced, achieving in its more complete states full coverage of the East and Gulf Coasts. The Neptune’s great strength was […]

$7,500
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Atlantic Neptune chart of Portland Maine

Portland, Maine from the Atlantic Neptune

A landmark in Maine mapping, being the first large-scale navigation chart of Portland Harbor and environs. The chart centers on the environs of Falmouth, Maine, including present-day Portland, the Cape Elizabeth peninsula, and the inner reaches of Casco Bay. Falmouth was at the time the largest town in Maine and an important center of the […]

$6,500
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Chart of Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound, from The Atlantic Neptune

This chart from Des Barres’ Atlantic Neptune was the most accurate contemporary chart of the region and remained so for the better part of 50 years. For their blend of accuracy and visual appeal, the charts of the Neptune have probably never been surpassed. Description The chart depicts the Buzzards Bay, Vineyard Sound and the surrounding […]

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The finest 18th-century chart of Boston Harbor in a desirable later state, with the addition of the extensive American fortifications erected during the 1775 siege.

Boston Harbor, from “The Atlantic Neptune”

The finest 18th-century chart of Boston Harbor in a desirable later state, with the addition of the extensive American fortifications erected during the 1775 siege. For its combination of accuracy and visual appeal this chart has never been surpassed. The chart depicts the environs of Boston, Boston Harbor and much of the coastline between Nahant […]

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Rare broadside plan of the Battle of Long Island

A rare separately-issued plan depicting a key battle of the American Revolution. Background Following the British evacuation of Boston and retreat to Halifax in March 1776, the Americans held tenuous control over the East Coast from Maine to Georgia. In truth, British mastery of the sea gave them the option to invade more or less […]

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Chart of Piscataqua Harbour (Portsmouth, NH) from the Atlantic Neptune

A lovely example of the first chart of Piscataqua Harbor and surroundings. The chart was issued in 1779 in The Atlantic Neptune, an atlas of charts and views of the East Coast used by British captains through much of the Revolution. The charts of the Neptune were so respected that many remained the standard for decades, often […]

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