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'A Chart of Delawar Bay, with Soundings and Nautical Observations (...)' by Captain Joseph Frederick Wallet des Barres is an exeptional rare and sought after chart which was published in London in 1776.


A highly detailed and visually striking chart depicting Delaware Bay and the mouth of the River is featured in this work. Stretching from Cape May in the south to Bombay Hook in the north, it stands out as the most meticulously crafted chart of the Bay from the colonial era. This particular chart is the second state, covering the area from Bombay Hook in the North to Cape Henlopen in the South.


Produced over a span of six years (1775-1781), the charts within the Atlantic Neptune are renowned for their accuracy in depicting various geographic features such as sounds, bays, bars, harbors, and navigational hazards. The detailed mapping of Delaware Bay, noted by Sellers and Van Ee, reflects the careful attention given to charting this region during the colonial period. Interestingly, this atlas played a significant role during the American Revolution, as it was extensively utilized by the Royal Navy.


Joseph Frederick Wallet Des Barres (1721-1824) was a Canadian cartographer born in Switzerland. His academic journey led him to study under the renowned mathematician Daniel Bernoulli at the University of Basel before relocating to Britain, where he underwent training at the Royal Military College, Woolwich. Engaging in military service during the 1756 hostilities with France, Des Barres drew the attention of General James Wolfe, who admired his charting skills. Collaborating with the future explorer James Cook, he contributed to a monumental chart of the St. Lawrence River. Des Barres gained lasting recognition for the Atlantic Neptune, a remarkable multi-volume collection of sea charts and coastal views. Overseen by Des Barres in Nova Scotia after the Seven Years’ War, these works, created with the assistance of up to twenty engravers and assistants, played a crucial role for the Royal Navy in the American Revolution. Post-Revolution, Des Barres served as lieutenant governor of Cape Breton Island (1784-1787) and later as governor of Prince Edward Island (1804-1812). Living to the remarkable age of 102, he was laid to rest in Halifax after his funeral at St. George's Round Church in 1824.


The condition of this chart is excellent. 


North America - A Chart of Delawar Bay (...) - Des Barres

SKU: 2004
  • Cartographer

    Joseph Frederick Wallet Des Barres

  • Date


  • Colouring


  • Dimensions (cm)

    Image: 74 x 52

    Sheet: 77 x 55

  • Condition


  • Condition Rating


  • Reference Number


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