By the mid-1770s the inclusion of views on nautical charts became increasingly accepted and required practice to assist navigation and aid pilotage into foreign harbours. As far back as 1759, the British Admiralty issued instructions to Sea Captains that all ships were required to make accurate observations as to the state of home and foreign coasts. Where artists (or those able to draw) were on-board ship they should provide illustrations. The need to produce ‘views’ formed an increasingly important part of late 18th century navigation, and (long before the invention of photography) enabled navigators to be able to recognize land features as aids and set compass fixings to negotiate entrance into harbours.
Just a few of the views included in the Heritage Charts collection include Des Barres’ ‘Four Views of Boston Harbour’ and ‘View of Portsmouth in New Hampshire taken from the East Shore’ and De la Rochette’s ‘A Chart of the Antilles, or Charibbe or Caribs Islands’.