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First View of the Coast of Virginia


Watercolor on paper drawing of "First View of the Coast of Virginia", March 3, 1796, by Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Following the death of his first wife Lydia Sellon Latrobe (1760-1793), Benjamin suffered a breakdown and decided to emigrate from Great Britain to the United States. He boarded the sailing ship "Eliza" and spent four months at sea, before arriving in Norfolk, Virginia in March 1796. This scene features two schooners and the visible Virginia coast line on that "Hazy morning" of March 3. He also notes that the low shore was covered in pine woods as well as Cape Henry at right in the distance.




Watercolor on paper


7 x 10.5 inches

Object ID


Resource ID



Sketchbook 1

Digital Publisher

Digital resource provided by the Maryland Center for History and Culture


This digital image is made available here for private study, scholarship, and research. Commercial and other uses are prohibited without the permission of the Maryland Center for History and Culture. For more information, visit the MCHC’s Reproductions and Permissions web page.