A413v - A view of the town of Charleston from James Island
A beautiful watercolour view of the town of Charleston is taken directly from the chart The Harbour of Charleston, published by J. F. W. Des Barres.
- J.F.W. Des Barres
- h11" x w21"
This view of the beautiful city of Charlestown is taken from the north shore of James Island across the Ashley River from the town. There are many intriguing features to this view, including the steeple of St. Michael's Church, located on the corner of Broad and Meeting streets which, even today, dominates the skyline. The steeple was used throughout the Revolutionary war years as both a landmark for navigation, as well as a look-out post.
To the right of St. Michael's on just by the river wall is the Old Exchange and Provost dungeon where, in the Great Hall in 1774, South Carolina elected delegates to the First Continental Congress. In 1782 the British, who had finally taken Charleston in 1780, condemned Isaac Haynes, a prominent citizen of the region to death for treason against the Crown.
The view also shows how well-fortified the town was in 1777. The town presented is of course slightly different from that which we see today, inasmuch as the battery on the southern tip of the peninsular has since been extended by some distance.
One of the most important features of the view presented is that, given the lines and angles presented, the view was drawn from north shore of James Island close to Fort Johnson. The Ashley river is not, and never has been, as narrow as depicted in the picture. The view presented by Des Barres is one of a peaceful, prosperous and industrious city, even down to the field workers on the foreground. It is of course designed to 'promote' Charleston as the jewel in the south. The British were certainly attracted to it, but not perhaps in the way locals may have liked.
For more on this please see the Heritage Charts 'Logbook' article 'An Artists View of Charleston': https://www.heritagecharts.com/post/an-artist-s-view-of-charleston
- A view of the town of Charleston from James Island