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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 American Siege of Quebec in 1775-76

The finest contemporary plan of Montgomery and Arnold’s disastrous assault on Quebec in December 1775. 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 ultimately enabled General Washington to drive the British from Boston. This opened a […]

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Key Revolutionary-era chart of the South Carolina coast

One of the finest charts of the southern coastline available to British mariners during the Revolution. The 25 miles of coast from Georgia’s Savannah River to Port Royal Sound, North Carolina was of great strategic import, encompassing as it did the superb harbor at Port Royal and the approaches to the city of Savannah. At […]

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[ Narragansett Bay ] Charles Blaskowitz, A Topographical CHART of the BAY of NARRAGANSET in the Province of NEW ENGLAND, with all the ISLES contained therein, among which RHODE ISLAND and CONNONICUT have been particularly SURVEYED… London: William Faden, July 22, 1777.

The finest 18th-century chart of Narragansett Bay

The single most important 18th-century chart of Narragansett Bay, prepared by Charles Blaskowitz for the use of the British Navy during the American Revolution. “…it is certain that the British, after occupying Newport at the end of 1776, used this map for their operations in this pivotal area. The detail shown is remarkable, including even the names […]

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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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An essential New Hampshire map

A superb and very rare map of New Hampshire, made by one of the leading British mapmakers. From the collection of Douglas Philbrook, who built arguably the largest and best-known private collection of White Mountain maps. This large map depicts New Hampshire in far great detail than on any earlier map, particularly the better-known southern […]

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The Raif Effendi United States map

A map of the United States rendered in Ottoman Turkish, from a pioneering attempt to import western geographic knowledge into the Islamic world.   This elegant map appeared in the Cedid Atlas Tercümesi (“Translation of a New Atlas”), published during Sultan Selim III’s Mizam-I Cedid reforms as part of a broader effort to import western learning […]

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The finest 18th-century map of New Jersey

An essential Revolutionary-period map, invaluable for understanding both Colonial boundary disputes and the campaigns in the Middle Colonies from 1776-1778. The map William Faden’s map depicts New Jersey in its entirety as well as adjacent areas of New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. Produced with military users in mind, it places great emphasis on roads, […]

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