A View of Savannah…
The precision of the design and Oglethorpe’s egalitarian approach to the division of land reflect his regimented military background as well as his utopian vision of the Georgia colony as a place to provide relief for people languishing in debtors prisons and persecuted foreign Protestants. The philanthropic aims of the early colony prohibited slavery and the presence of rum.
In November 1733, a draft of the town plan was sent back to the Georgia Trustees in London to be engraved and incorporated with other materials designed to promote the new colony. The setting for Savannah, perfectly carved out of the dense wilderness and laid out in a uniform manner, supported the notion that the English were adept at mastering the American environment and establishing order out of chaos.
The original artist of the view was erroneously believed to be Peter Gordon because of the inscription and the designation “P. Gordon Inv” below the lower left corner of the engraving. Recent research has proven differently. In 1733 Peter Gordon, an upholsterer by trade, sailed from Savannah to London carrying, among other documents, a plat of the town of Savannah drawn by Savannah’s surveyor Noble Jones with instructions for converting the pat into a perspective view of the town. Gordon served as courier between George Jones, a London draughtsman (probably a relative of Noble Jones) and the engraver Fourdrinier to produce the perspective drawing and engraving. George Jone’s original drawing is in the University of Georgia Library where, until 1989, it had been incorrectly identified as a copy of the engraving rather than its manuscript model.