Appendix 3: John Chapman (fl. 1761-78): land-surveyor, engraver and map-maker

Peering back into the past in search of evidence about an historic figure, one has to acknowledge the risk of conflating separate individuals in to one identity, particularly if the name is a common one. In a letter to Stuart Mason, J.B. Harley expressed his concern about ‘the number of Chapman’s who were at work in the period’ (ERO). An attempt to review and evaluate the evidence, whilst it might add to our knowledge, is beyond the focus of this dissertation. It is enough to recognise that there are some questions here, which if answered may result in a richer story. For the time being it serves the purpose of this dissertation to provide a chronology of what is known and what I have conjectured about Chapman’s life and work.

Conjectures are in italics.

1750’s Chapman apprenticed to John Rocque (Mason 1983)
1761 Chapman surveys an estate in St Paul’s Cray, Kent, with Thomas Proudlove (Hull 1973)
1762 Chapman surveys an estate in Chiselhurst, Kent, with Thomas Proudlove (Bergess 1992)
1764 Burdett begins his survey of Derbyshire, assisted by Yates, Chapman and Whyman (Harley 1975)
1766 Chapman surveys an estate in Bexley, Kent, with Thomas Proudlove (Hull 1973)
1767 Chapman publishes a Proposal for a survey and map of Newmarket (Lewis 1991)
1768 Chapman publishes his maps of Newmarket Heath and Newmarket town whilst resident at Dalham, Suffolk (Lewis 1991, Mason 1983)
1769 Chapman publishes Armstrong’s map of Durham (Mason 1983)Chapman surveys Orford Marches, Suffolk (Mason 1983)
1770 Chapman begins engraving illustrations for Muilman’s history of Essex (Mason 1983, Muilman 1770-72)Chapman surveys an estate at Beaumont cum Mose, Essex (Mason 1990)
1772 Chapman begins the survey of Essex for Mary Ann Rocque (Gough 1780)
1773 Chapman surveys an estate at Enfield, Essex (ERO)
1774 May – Chapman publishes a ‘proposal’ for a survey and map of Nottinghamshire (M&SC(4))
1775 May – Yates and Chapman publish a proposal for a survey and map of Lancashire (Harley 1964b)November – Yates publishes his map of Staffordshire, engraved by Chapman (Phillips 1984)Chapman exhibits two views of Southwell Minster in the Royal Academy Exhibition (Gough 1780)
1776 May – Chapman publishes his map of Nottinghamshire (Henstock 2003)
1777 Oct – Chapman publishes his map of Essex (Green 1911)
1778 Chapman acquires plates of Burdett’s Derbyshire map and begins revisions (ERO)Chapman exhibits two aquatint engravings in the Royal Academy Exhibition (ERO)Chapman publishes two engravings of the Cornhill, London in collaboration with Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg (Museum of London, British Library) Chapman dies (Gough 1780)
1780 Chapman’s illustrations included in ‘Memoirs of Thomas Hollis Esq.’ (Royal Academy Collection)
1784 11th September, burial of Mary Chapman, widow of John Chapman, ‘gent’ at Dalham, Suffolk (Mason 1983) December, auction of the property of ‘Mr John Chapman’ deceased (ERO)


Sources (not listed in Bibliography)

Bergess, W. (1992), Kent maps and plans … a finding list, Library Association, London

British Library (2013), Online Gallery, ]

Hull, F. ed. (1973), Catalogue of estate maps, 1590-1840 …, Kent County Council, Maidstone

Museum of London (2013), Prints,


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