Holland map returns home
Samuel Holland’s 1765 map of P.E.I. featured in new exhibition
In the fall of 1765, working under canvas at his base camp at Observation Cove, P.E.I, on orders from the British Crown, Samuel Holland, the surveyor-general of North America, finished the map he’d been working on for over a year and shipped it to London, England.
Co-curated by Island historians, Boyde Beck and Edward MacDonald, the major exhibition explores how this map was a product of imperial rivalries and strategies for the British Empire and the critical role it played as a template for the settlement and development of P.E.I.
The exhibition, which opens opens at the art gallery on Sunday, July 5 at 2 p.m., was organized by the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation, the Public Archives and Records Office of P.E.I. and the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, in partnership with the Canadian Museum of History.
Beck describes it as a “remarkable technical achievement; the first step in the most ambitious mapping project that the world had ever seen, complete map of Britain’s North American Empire which, at the time, stretched from Florida to Hudson Bay.”
“Now, for the first time since it left here 250 years ago, Holland’s map has come home to where it was made; to the province it helped to shape and define,” he says.
The provincial archivist agrees.
“The Holland Map is a foundational document. It set the direction for Prince Edward Island’s development and we are delighted to have it home for a visit,” says Jill MacMicken.
Art gallery director, Kevin Rice is excited for the public.
“It will be fantastic to actually see this three by four metre 250year-old map! Historically, scientifically, and visually it is an important description of the Island.”
This unique exhibition highlights the Holland Commemoration year with a once in a lifetime opportunity for young and old to see for the first time in North America, the original hand drawn map of Samuel Holland’s survey, says David Keenlyside, executive director of the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation and chair of the Province’s Samuel Holland 250 Commemorations Committee.
“Other Holland artifacts in this exhibition tell the unique story of Holland’s life, his work, and the people of his generation that shaped our early Island history.”
Recently conserved by The National Archives, United Kingdom, the map will be the feature artifact in the exhibition. An illustrated lecture detailing the extensive conservation treatment on Holland’s large manuscript map will be presented by Lucy Angus, on Monday July 6 at 2 p.m. at Confederation Centre. Angus is the UK National Archives conservator who treated the Holland map.
For more information on gallery exhibitions and events, visit confederationcentre. com/artgallery.