Rendered on four sheets of adjoined paper, this impressive panoramic prospect shows the Essex coast at Harwich with Felixstowe, Suffolk in the distance. It was created by Henry Gilder (1743–1808), a military draughtsman trained by Paul Sandby (1731–1809) who later became Chief Drawing Master at the Board of Ordnance.
Harwich and its parish Church of St Nicholas can be seen in the middle distance at centre left, overlooking the sweeping arc of the bay. Given its strategic position on the North Sea, at the estuary of the rivers Stour and Orwell, the port had a longstanding naval history. A Royal Navy Dockyard was established there in 1652, but by the time this drawing was made in 1777 the Navy had leased the port out for shipbuilding. The harbour continued to be defended by Landguard Fort at Felixstowe which can just be made out on the distant spit of land at far right. The first fortifications at Landguard date to 1540, but they were strengthened with various additions and reinforcements in response to British wars of the 17th and 18th centuries.
- Full title:
- A View of HARWICH, and LAND-GUARD FORT, taken from HARWICH Cliff. / Drawn on the Spot by H. Gilder.
- Henry Gilder
- Usage terms
Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.
- Held by
- British Library
- Maps K.Top.13.15.4.e.
- Article by:
- Ann Payne
- Military and maritime
Documenting national defence was a key purpose of topographical drawings. Ann Payne explores examples of military art in the British Library’s collections.