John Norman

Artist's Biography

Untitled. Coast of New England.

Copper plate engraving, Undated, 1791 - c.1803.
Five-sheet map, joined into an an L shape. 39 3/4 x 55" plus margins.
Generally in very good condition. There is some minor damp staining along lower edge, occasional fly spec and soft creasing. Overall remarkably good for a working sea chart.
LOCATION: New York City

Inventory Number: 83778
Price: $55,000.00
Publisher : Published and sold by William Norman Book and Chart-Seller
This chart shows an area from Sandy Hook in New Jersey, eastwards to Cape Cod and northwards to Newbury Port, Massachusetts. Includes all of Long Island, Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Boston Harbor.

It is difficult to exactly describe the history of this chart as Norman issued some of the sheets separately, or in some cases, with two additional sheets. Early issues bear an oval title in the lower right sheet, “Chart from New York to Timber Island including Nantucket Shoals”` by John Norman and with a note of its accuracy by Osgood Carlton. The early versions first appeared in 1791 and included two additional folding tab sheets on the right; one northward to Timber Island in Maine and the other eastward off the coast of Cape Cod to Georges Banks (Wheat and Brun #151) with later issues in 1794 and 1803. (Wheat and Brun #157). In the later states the two panels have removed oval title cartouche has been burnished out. This author has seen variants of Norman’s charts as late as 1816. Norman would constantly update the charts as new and better information became available.

In 1791 John Norman of Boston first published "The American Pilot, containing the navigation of the sea coast of North America…." This "Pilot" is the second sea atlas published in America. In 1794, William Norman appears for the first time as the publisher of this Pilot, taking over from John, presumably his father. In 1795, William issued "A Pilot of the West Indies." in which this chart appears. In 1803 the title changes to "The New West India Pilot. There are no recorded issues of either "pilot" after 1804 edition. William dies in 1807 and John continues the business until his death in 1817. This and all of Norman's charts are extremely rare today and very few examples of the bound "Pilot's" are known to exist and many of those are incomplete.