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'Boston Harbor' by Captain Joseph Frederick Wallet des Barres is an exeptional rare and sought after chart which was published in London in 1776. 


The map illustrates the Boston area, encompassing Boston Harbor and a significant stretch of coastline from Nahant to Hull. It offers comprehensive information on water depths, navigational markers, and potential hazards. What sets it apart is the wealth of terrestrial details, surpassing other contemporary printed maps. It includes features such as bodies of water, roads, structures, and even field boundaries. The map uses differential shading to indicate elevations and slopes, providing a visual representation of the topography. Additionally, there's an alphabetical key highlighting fourteen specific locations in Boston proper, ranging from batteries and forts to wharves and the Charlestown ferry. This level of detail makes the chart a valuable resource for both maritime navigation and understanding the broader geographical and structural aspects of the region during that time.


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.


This chart is in excellent condition. 

North America - Boston Harbor - Des Barres

SKU: 2009
  • Cartographer

    Joseph Frederick Wallet Des Barres

  • Date


  • Colouring


  • Dimensions (cm)

    Image: 71.5 x 104

    Sheet: 77 x 107

  • Condition


  • Condition Rating


  • Reference Number


  • Authenticity Guaranteed


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