Extremely rare plan of Havana, published by William Faden in 1805.
The chart is based upon a Spanish chart by Jose del Rio of the Spanish Royal Navy. The Spanish edition of the chart was prepared under the direction of Felipe Bauza, who would go one to become the director of the Spanish Hydrographical Office in Madrid, before fleeing Spain for England in 1823, as a result of the persecution of liberals under the reign of Ferdinand VII of Spain. He took with him his large collection of geographical documents and maps of the Americas and Spain. In London he had contacts with many prominent English and European scientists, and sold many of his charts to the British Admiralty.
The map includes a key locating 38 points of interest.
Faden's chart is of the utmost rarity. We were unable to locate any other examples in any institutional collections.
We locate no examples in dealer catalogues. The chart appears to have been bound into a composite atlas of 20 charts sold at Sothebys to Maggs Brothers in 1967. We believe this example comes from the Maggs atlas, which was sold as a collection of maps by Sothebys.
Provenance: Purchased from Jonathan Potter in October 2021.
William Faden (1749-1836) was the most prominent London mapmaker and publisher of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. His father, William Mackfaden, was a printer who dropped the first part of his last name due to the Jacobite rising of 1745.
Apprenticed to an engraver in the Clothworkers' Company, he was made free of the Company in August of 1771. He entered into a partnership with the family of Thomas Jeffreys, a prolific and well-respected mapmaker who had recently died in 1771. This partnership lasted until 1776.
Also in 1776, Faden joined the Society of Civil Engineers, which later changed its name to the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers. The Smeatonians operated as an elite, yet practical, dining club and his membership led Faden to several engineering publications, including canal plans and plans of other new engineering projects.
Faden's star rose during the American Revolution, when he produced popular maps and atlases focused on the American colonies and the battles that raged within them. In 1783, just as the war ended, Faden inherited his father's estate, allowing him to fully control his business and expand it; in the same year he gained the title "Geographer in Ordinary to his Majesty."
Faden also commanded a large stock of British county maps, which made him attractive as a partner to the Ordnance Survey; he published the first Ordnance map in 1801, a map of Kent. The Admiralty also admired his work and acquired some of his plates which were re-issued as official naval charts.
Faden was renowned for his ingenuity as well as his business acumen. In 1796 he was awarded a gold medal by the Society of Arts. With his brother-in-law, the astronomer and painter John Russell, he created the first extant lunar globe.
After retiring in 1823 the lucrative business passed to James Wyld, a former apprentice. He died in Shepperton in 1826, leaving a large estate.