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George III’s maps and views showing the war from North America to India

John Montresor (1736-99)

Boston, 1775 1775

Pencil, pen, ink and watercolour on paper | Scale: 1:24,140 approx. | RCIN 734009

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A map of the town and environs of Boston showing the British and rebel positions and works at 14 July 1775. American War of Independence (1775-83). Oriented with north to top.

A medium-scale survey made just a month after the Battle of Bunker Hill (17 July 1775), showing the early stages in the development of the rebel intrenchments, before the fortifications of Fosters Hill, Signal Tree Hill, and Bush Tree Hill were constructed. It was probably surveyed by John Montresor, who succeeded his father, James, as Chief Engineer in America in 1775. According to Marshall (1976), p.130, it is similar to a manuscript draft map in the Library of Congress, which, with examples in the collections of the Clements Library, at Alnwick Castle, the RUSI Collection British Library, and another copy in the Library of Congress, are reputed to be finished copies. The Library of Congress copy is illustrated in Marshall (1976) on pages 6-7 and carries the title 'A Draught of the Towns of Boston and Charlestown and the Circumjacent Country shewing the Works thrown up by His Majesty's Troops, and also those by the Rebels, during the Campaign 1775'. The Royal Collection example, however, contains different information and appears to be a version showing an earlier topographical situation.

  • John Montresor (1736-99) (surveyor and draughtsman) [top left, in title cartouche, signed:] John Montresor Command.g Engineer.

    Thomas Gage (1719-87) (dedicatee)

  • Watermark: Fleur-de-lys in crowned shield, a ‘4’ suspending an upside down V with the letters VD L below; countermark, cropped: [IVILLEDAR]Y

    Mark, stamped: 971

    Condition: three fold lines; in a cream card Royal Library mount dating from the time of the British Library exhibition on the American War of Independence in 1775 (1975). Verso: induced discolouration

  • Scale: 1:24,140 approx. Scale bar: [200 mm =] 3 Miles.

    45.7 x 45.2 cm (image)

    48.5 x 48.0 cm (sheet)

  • Manuscript title:

    No title


    [top left, in rectangular panel:] To / HIS EXCELLENCY the Hon.ble / THOMAS GAGE Esq.r Lieut.t / General & Commander in Chief / of HIS MAJESTY'S Forces in / North America, Governor of / the Province of the Massachusets / Bay. &.c &.c &.c … / Boston July 1775.

    Additional text:

    [top left, in title cartouche:] The yellow shews the works constructed by the Kings Troops. The Brown shews the Rebels Intrenchments.


    George III heading: [red ink over black pencil:] Boston 1775.

    Other annotations: (Recto) [bottom left, black pencil:] 14-8 [and] XVII/34. (Verso) [bottom, above old heading, black pencil, erased:] Boston [1775]; [bottom, left of centre, black pencil:] XVII/34.

    George III catalogue entry:

    Boston A drawn Plan of the Town and Environs of Boston with the Works constructed by the King’s Troops and the Intrenchments of the Rebels in 1775: by John Montresor Eng.r 19 July 1775.

  • From the collection of military and naval maps and prints formed by George III (1738-1820)

  • Subject(s)

    Boston, Massachusetts, USA (42°21'30"N 71°03'35"W)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    D. W. Marshall, The British military engineers 1741-1783: a study of organzation, social origin, and cartography, Unpublished PhD thesis Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1976

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