BOWLES, Thomas (1712-1767)
A View of the Royal Exchange London/Vüe de la Bourse Royale à Londres
London: Printed for & Sold by Robert Sayer, 1751. Hand-coloured engraving, printed on laid paper. Very good condition apart from a 1/2" tear in the lower margin, some light foxing marks in the image, and a couple of skillfully repaired small tears in the top and left margins. A few tiny losses in the lower left and upper right corners of the sheet. Bottom of sheet has been slightly trimmed. Sheet size: 11 5/8 x 17 7/8 inches. Plate mark: 10 1/4 x 15 3/4 inches.
A beautifully rendered view of the Royal Exchange's main edifice at the west end of Cornhill. Situated on Threadneddle Street, the Royal Exchange was opened in 1566 as a marketplace where merchants and manufacturers conducted commercial transactions. It was later rebuilt in 1669 after the Great Fire.
A member of the renowned Bowles family, which monopolized the London print market, Thomas Bowles was a successful print seller and publisher like his brother John. He was also a talented engraver and contributed numerous plates, both of his own original drawings and after those of his contemporaries, to various series including Seymour's Survey of London (1734). He also produced several separately issued engravings such as this that were published by Robert Sayer, the Overtons, or John Bowles. Bowles was particularly productive during the early 1750s, a period during which the popularity and production of topographical views of London were at its height. Robert Sayer, along with Henry Overton and John Bowles, was one of the chief purveyors of such prints. His business was based at the Golden Buck between 1745 and 1794, and in 1774, he entered a successful partnership with John Bennett in 1774.
Cf. Adams, London Illustrated 1604-1851, p. 69; cf. Dictionary of National Biography.