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A MAP of the most INHABITED part of VIRGINIA. Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson, cartographers; Thomas Jefferys, engraver, London, England, 1768. Black-and-white line engraving with period color. OH: 31 3/8"; OW: 49 1/8."

A MAP of the most INHABITED part of VIRGINIA. Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson, cartographers; Thomas Jefferys, engraver, London, England, 1768. Black-and-white line engraving with period color. OH: 31 3/8"; OW: 49 1/8."

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Prints and Maps

THE ALTERNATIVE OF WILLIAMSBURG. Attributed to Philip Dawe; printed for Robert Sayer and John Bennett, London, England, February 16, 1775. Black-and-white mezzotint engraving. OH: 14 1/4"; OW: 10 1/3."

THE ALTERNATIVE OF WILLIAMSBURG. Attributed to Philip Dawe; printed for Robert Sayer and John Bennett, London, England, February 16, 1775. Black-and-white mezzotint engraving. OH: 14 1/4"; OW: 10 1/3."

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SPECTATORS at a PRINT-SHOP in St. PAUL’s CHURCH YARD. Printed for Carington Bowles, London, England, ca. 1760. Black-and-white mezzotint engraving with hand color. OH: 14 1/2"; OW: 10 ¾."

SPECTATORS at a PRINT-SHOP in St. PAUL’s CHURCH YARD. Printed for Carington Bowles, London, England, ca. 1760. Black-and-white mezzotint engraving with hand color. OH: 14 1/2"; OW: 10 ¾."

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Cunne Shote, the Indian CHIEF. Engraved by James McArdell after a painting by Francis Parsons, London, England, ca. 1762. Black-and-white mezzotint.

Cunne Shote, the Indian CHIEF. Engraved by James McArdell after a painting by Francis Parsons, London, England, ca. 1762. Black-and-white mezzotint.

Museum Purchase

The print and map collections at Colonial Williamsburg provide a window into the 18th-century world. Household inventories, newspaper advertisements, merchant’s orders, and personal correspondence suggest that a wide range of printed material was enjoyed by colonial Americans.

The collection is strong in prints and maps known to have been used in America, but the Foundation also seeks to acquire period graphics that illustrate 18th-century life in general. This aspect of the collection provides historical documentation to aid in the modern interpretation of the restored town of Williamsburg. Scenes that depict everyday life such as dining, playing games, or routine domestic activities provide an important visual resource to understand the taste and social behavior of our forebears. Prints illustrating shop interiors or tradesmen at work show how objects were produced and marketed. Social and political cartoons indicate trends in fashions and customs, ideas, and attitudes that were rapidly adopted by English and Europeans living in the American colonies.

Graphics that suggest what Europeans knew or believed about America from the time that the English first settled the New World through the American Revolution provide another focus for the collection. Maps tell us what was known or believed about the land, suggest how people traveled and traded, and record routes taken across the oceans and continents.

Books about Colonial Williamsburg Prints and Maps

  • Degrees of Latitude: Mapping Colonial America

    A splendidly illustrated volume which goes beyond standard cartobiliographical analysis to examine the inspiration behind the production of seventy-three maps, atlases, and sea charts.

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    By Margaret Beck Pritchard and Henry G. Taliaferro

    This splendidly illustrated volume goes beyond standard cartobiliographical analysis to examine the inspiration behind the production of seventy-three maps, atlases, and sea charts. The first part describes what maps reveal about the history of the American nation and explains why they were important to their owners. The second part discusses the rare atlas owned by John Custis of Williamsburg. An overview of the English map trade in the late seventeenth century is also included. Published in association with Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers Colonial Williamsburg Decorative Arts Series 448 pp., 186 color illustrations, 97 black-and-white illustrations, 11 5/16 x 9 1/4 2002 CW No. 961508 Hardbound ISBN 0-87835-214-0 $95.00



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