||VIVARES, François (1709-1780) after John MAURER (1713-1761)
A View of the Royal Hospital at Chelsea and the Rotunda in Ranelagh Gardens in Middlesex / Vüe l'Hôpital Royal de Chelsea et de la Rotunde des Jardins de Ranelagh en Middlesex
London: Published by F.West, circa 1833-1850. Hand-coloured engraving, printed on wove paper. Very good condition apart from some small black spots in the image and a few minor bits of coloured paint in the left and bottom margins. Plate mark: 11 x16 5/8 inches. Sheet size: 15 x 21 1/2 inches.
A stunning view of the Baroque-style Royal Hospital at Chelsea, from "A Collection of Views of old London and its Environs," a series of plates originally engraved for the publisher John Bowles in the mid 1700s and later reissued in the nineteenth-century by Francis West. This particular plate was first published by Thomas and John Bowles in 1744.
Most likely inspired by the Louis XlV's Hotel Des Invalides in Paris, The Royal Hospital was founded by Kind Charles II as a refuge for injured and retired army veterans. It was designed by the famous architect Christopher Wren and constructed between 1682 and 1692.
One of the earliest and most influential landscape engravers was Francois Vivares. Vivares was born in France and raised in Geneva, but at the age of eighteen established himself in London. He exhibited regularly with the Incorporated Society of Artists and was highly regarded for his meticulous technique and bold style. Vivares is considered the father of English landscape engraving, his fine work inspiring generations of English engravers. Like Smith of Derby, Vivares was instrumental in introducing the concept of the "picturesque landscape" into English art. His magnificent engravings captured the golden age of the English countryside, before it was forever changed by the factories and mills of the Industrial Revolution. This magnificent print is a wonderful example of Vivares' unique style.
The English draughtsman and engraver John Maurer was chiefly know for his various views of London. His services were in high demand by print sellers during the mid-eighteenth century, and he engraved numerous plates for such eminent publishers as Thomas Bowles, John Boydell, and Robert Sayer.
Cf. Adams, London Illustrated 1604-1851 193; cf. Benezit, Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, Vol. 9, p. 389; Dictionary of National Biography.