A View of the City of Boston the Capital of New England, in North America Drawn on the Spot by his Excellency Governor Pownal. Thomas/ DRAKE POWNALL, S. G.
Fine View of Colonial Boston
Boston.
[Boston, 1760/ 1856]

A View of the City of Boston the Capital of New England, in North America Drawn on the Spot by his Excellency Governor Pownal.

8 3/4 x 19 5/8 inches, Printed on heavy, unfolded stock, light toning, few faint stains, very good overall.

A very scarce, separately published issue on heavy stock of this fine re-engraving of Thomas Pownall's important view of Boston. This accurate and well-detailed view was based on a sketch by Pownall made while he was serving as the Royal Governor of Massachusetts from 1757 to 1760. The city is here depicted from Castle William on Castle Island, the headquarters for the British military at the time and guardian of the shipping channel between Castle and Governor's islands; details of the fort can be seen in the foreground. Viewing Boston from left to right one sees South Cove, South Battery, Fort Hill, a line of vessels docked along Long Wharf, and the mouth of the Charles River. Behind Long Wharf are visible the three peaks of the Trimontane, of which only Beacon Hill remains today.
Pownall arrived in the colonies in 1753 and served in various administrative posts. Unlike perhaps most of his colleagues, Pownall became deeply interested in America, traveled widely, and became closely acquainted with prominent Americans; he was a lifelong friend of Franklin. As seen here, he was an artist but also a mapmaker and writer, who studied America's natural history.
This view and others by English officers serving in America began to be published as separates or in small groups in London in around 1760. They were gathered into a single volume of 28 plates in 1768 in a work called Scenographia Americana, one of the rarest and most sought after early illustrated works on America. This later version of Pownall's view was published in Drake's History and Antiquities of Boston in 1756; however, the example offered here was clearly published as a separate, being unfolded and on heavy stock.


* cf. Creswell, The American Revolution in Drawings and Prints; cf. #23; Stokes and Haskell, American Historical Prints, #1758-B-86; cf. Winsor, Memorial History of Boston, p. II:127.

Price: $550.00

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