SHOTTER BOYS, Thomas (1803-1874)
The Custom House
[London: T. Boys, 1842]. Hand-coloured lithograph by Thomas Shotter Boys, printed by Charles Hullmandel, deluxe edition, mounted on card (as issued). Good condition apart from some overall light soiling and minor foxing. Image size (including text): 17 x 12 3/8 inches. Sheet size: (of mount) 21 1/2 x 17 1/8 inches.
A very fine image from Boys' 'London As It Is': a work 'of considerable importance' (Abbey).
Abbey writes of the work London As It Is from which this beautiful image comes: apart "from the beauty of its plates, it records London at a period when good pictorial records were few. The London of the 1840's is probably more difficult to reconstruct than at any other period in the nineteenth century" (Abbey Life 239). High production costs and changing fashion caused aquatint to die out, photography was still in an experimental stage, and chromolithography did not appear until 1850. Boys' work was issued with the plates hand-coloured mounted in imitation of watercolours, with no imprint, or as here, with the plates tinted and hand-coloured, including Boys' name at the foot.
Boys garnered enormous prestige from this work and from his earlier, Picturesque Views in Paris, Ghent... (1839). The "accuracy of his portraits of buildings and his skill in composition have seldom been bettered" (Mallalieu Dictionary of British Watercolour Artists p.38).
Cf. Abbey Scenery 239.