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COLONIAL MASSACHUSETTS]. JOHNSTON, Thomas (1708-1767).

FINE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT MAP: ".Plan of ye Town of Pownall".

      Boston: 12th November, 1763. - Original manuscript map (sheet size 21 4/8 x 29 6/8; 20 4/8 x 29 inches to the neat line), pen and ink and colour wash on paper, signed "Tho. Johnston Sculp" in the cartouche. Showing several hundred plots laid out for the "Town of Pownall" lying between the Kennebec River and Wiscasset Bay, decorated with an EXCEPTIONALLY FINE AND LARGE ASYMMETRICAL ROCOCO CARTOUCHE and fine compass rose to the upper left, and a scale lower right of 160 poles to one inch (some very fine expert but minor restoration to edges). Provenance: by direct descent from Sir Francis Bernard (1712-1779), last governor of Massachusetts, his sale Bonhams, London, June 7th, lot 46. An extremely important map: ONE OF ONLY TWO KNOWN ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT MAPS BY THE CELEBRATED MASTER ENGRAVER, THOMAS JOHNSTON OF BOSTON, to have survived; and an EARLY EXAMPLE OF THE USE OF ROCOCO MOTIFS IN AN AMERICAN PRODUCED MAP BY AMERICA'S MOST TALENTED NATIVE CRAFTSMAN OF THE DAY. This fine map depicts the colonial settlement of Pownalborough commissioned by the Kennebeck Proprietors for Sir Francis Bernard (1712-1779), then governor of Massachusetts (1760-1769), and dedicated to him in the beautiful historiated rococo cartouche: "To His Exclly. Frans. Bernard Esq. captain General & Govenor in Chief in & over his Majestys Province of ye Massachsetts bay in N Engld. & Vice-Admiral of the Same, This Plan of ye Town of Pownall by order of ye Proprietors of ye Kennebeck purchase from ye late Colony of new Plymouth is humbly presented by Your Excellys Most Ob:d Hum:e Servant James Pitts James Bowdoin Benjm Hallowell Thos. Hancock Silv. Gardiner Boston 12 Novr 1763". Undoubtedly commissioned to accompany the extravagant gift by the Kennebeck Purchase Company to Bernard of Lot 21 in the town of Pownall, amounting to 500 acres of prime residential land. Pownalborough, as it became, was a "Company" town, founded by the Kennebeck proprietors, and here shown with hundreds of sizable plots meticulously and evenly laid out, mostly ripe for development, but with some showing existing properties, presumably indicative of the settlement at the date of the survey. The area depicted was later divided and now includes Dresden, Wiscasset etc., and is today part of Lincoln County, Maine. The map was prepared by the well-known Boston engraver Thomas Johnston (1708-1767), who has signed the cartouche, although apparently it was never engraved. THOMAS JOHNSTON (1708-1767) Draftsman of the map Johnston, who has signed this beautiful and detailed map in the elaborate historiated rococo cartouche, was a prominent Bostonian, America's premier engraver and craftsman, with one of the better-documented careers among artists of colonial Boston. He was known as a "house painter and decorator, japanner, engraver, painter of coats of arms, church singer, publisher of singing-books and pioneer New England builder of organs, .a father of a large brood of children who inherited his skills, added to them, on occasion, and carried them far beyond the boundaries of Boston . He engraved maps, views, trade cards, bookplates, certificates, currency, and book illustrations" (Sinclair Hitchings: Boston Prints and Printmakers 1670-1775, page 83). Johnston became active in Boston in about 1726, his first signed work as an engraver is William Burgis' printed map of Boston dated 1728, and this was followed by examples of nearly every type of printing that could not be readily done in movable type, such as music, bookplates, and certificates. But his best known and most prized works are his important maps including: the Bonner map of Boston, fourth state 1732; "A Plan of Cape Breton, & Fort Louisbourgh" 1745; "Chart of Canada River from ye Island of Anticosty as far up as Quebeck" 1746, "The earliest and most important American engraved view of Quebec" (Stokes & Haskell, 1758-B-17), based on an inset in a map by Nicolas de Fer, "La France Occidentale dans l'Amerique Septentrionale" (Paris, 1718); "A True Coppy from an Ancie

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Last Found On: 2012-06-19          Check current availability from:     AbeBooks


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