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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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A fine and important plan of occupied Boston

One of the best Revolutionary-era depictions of Boston under siege, taken from surveys made on the spot by British forces occupying the town. This plan is attributed to Lieutenant Thomas Hyde Page (1746-1821), a British military engineer who served briefly in Boston before being severely wounded at Bunker Hill and invalided back to England. Based on […]

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1781 William Faden plan of the Battle of Yorktown

The first published map of the Battle of Yorktown

A cartographic rarity of the American Revolution, being the first printed plan of the Battle of Yorktown, published in 1781 within weeks of Cornwallis’ surrender. “The timeliness of this engraving, in addition to the clear picture it renders of the beginning of the end in Virginia, helps make it an exciting document.” (Nebenzahl, Atlas of […]

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Archibald Campbell map of the 1778 British campaign against Savannah Georgia

The British capture Savannah Georgia in 1778

The only published map depicting the British capture of Savannah Georgia in 1778, drawn by expedition commander Archibald Campbell. Background By mid-1778 the war in the Middle and Northern Colonies was going poorly for the British. Burgoyne’s army had surrendered at Saratoga, Commander-in-Chief Henry Clinton had felt compelled to evacuate Philadelphia to reinforce New York, and […]

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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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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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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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Lieut. [Thomas] Page and Capt. [John] Montresor (map makers) / William Faden (publisher), BOSTON its ENVIRONS and HARBOUR, with the REBELS WORKS RAISED AGAINST THAT TOWN IN 1775, from the Observations of LIEUT. PAGE of His MAJESTY'S Corps of Engineers, and from the Plans of Capt. Montresor. , London, October 1, 1777.

The siege of Boston, by British engineers who were on the spot

One of the most careful depictions of the Boston area executed during the Revolution, taken from surveys made on the spot by British engineers. Following the April 19, 1775 battles at Lexington and Concord, the British retreated to Boston. There they were besieged by thousands of New England militia who encamped in Charlestown, Cambridge, Brookline […]

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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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