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William Faden (1749-1836) was a London engraver, mapmaker, map- and printseller and publisher. He began his career as an employee of Thomas Jefferys, then from 1771-76 was in partnership with Jefferys’ heirs before assuming sole control of the business. His long career lasted until 1823, when he retired and transferred his firm to his former apprentice James Wyld.

Faden ascended to the apex of the London map world, becoming Geographer to both George III and IV, based in no small part on his groundbreaking cartography of the American Revolution, using as his sources original maps and plans supplied by some of the ablest British mapmakers in the American service. In many cases, Faden’s battle plans are the only contemporary plans of the events they depict, and almost all are sought after for their clean engraving, richness of information, and clear depiction of of complex events.  Many of the original manuscripts used by Faden survive in the remarkable William Faden Collection at the Library of Congress Geography & Map Division.

Examples of his excellent mapping of Revolutionary events include a 1776 plan of the Siege of Quebec; a 1777 plan of Newport, Rhode Island; a 1777 plan of the Battles of Trenton and Princeton; and this very rare 1787 plan of the Battle of Yorktown.

For an excellent biography of William Faden and a list of his publications, see Laurence Worms and Ashley Baynton-Williams, British Map Engravers, pp. 221-225.

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William Faden plan of the 1775-76 siege of Quebec

Superb William Faden plan of the 1775-76 Siege of Quebec

The finest contemporary plan of Montgomery and Arnold’s siege of Quebec during the opening year of the Revolution, published only four months after the lifting of the siege. In May 1775 a force under Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured the British forts at Crown Point and Ticonderoga, from which were taken the cannon that […]

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An American debacle at Charleston

A fine example of Banastre Tarleton’s plan of the Siege of Charlestown, one of the greatest American setbacks of the Revolution. Offered here on excellent, heavy paper with very wide margins. The siege This map depicts in great detail the siege of Charleston, conducted by the British forces in early 1780 at the beginning of […]

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John Hills Position of British Forces around Elizabeth Town Point

John Hills map of the failed 1780 British invasion of New Jersey

A very nice example of this rare and finely engraved plan depicting the action around Elizabeth Town, New Jersey in June 1780, after a manuscript by the great military cartographer John Hills. The engagement around Elizabeth Town consisted of two phases fought on June 8 and 23, 1780, during the last major British campaign in […]

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Faden plan of the Battle of Bennington

This battle plan was issued in General John Burgoyne’s State of the Expedition from Canada, his famous defense against charges of mismanaging the disastrous British expedition from Canada in the Summer-Fall of 1777. It was drawn by an officer present on the scene, then engraved and printed by the Faden firm in London. The expedition […]

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Revolution-era map of the Lake Champlain-Hudson River corridor

The first large-scale map of the region, and likely used to plan the disastrous 1777 campaign that culminated in the surrender of Burgoyne’s army at Saratoga. This lovely map depicts the Hudson River-Lake George-Lake Champlain corridor, during the Colonial era a key invasion route between Canada and the Northern Colonies. The major waterways and their […]

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One of the best early maps of the Hudson River, with the original slipcase.

This lovely large-scale map depicts the Hudson River-Lake George-Lake Champlain corridor, the key invasion route between Canada and the Middle Colonies during the Colonial era. The major waterways and their tributaries are shown in great detail, including depth soundings as far North as Albany and navigational hazards on Lake Champlain. Hachuring is indicates elevations along […]

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Newport, Rhode Island during the Revolution

The most detailed plan of Newport made during the the Revolutionary War. Description This plan depicts the town of Newport and its harbor in immense detail. Numerous quays jut into the harbour along the length of Thames Street, evidence that up until the Revolution this was one of colonial America’s leading ports. Every street is […]

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