BOYDELL, John (1719-1804)
A View of Woolwich
London: Published by J. Boydell, 1750. Hand-coloured engraving. Very good condition apart from some overall light soiling and two 3/4" and 1/2" tears in the bottom and left margins respectively. Sheet size: 16 x 21 5/8 inches. Plate mark: 10 3/8 x 17 inches.
A fine image of London from Boydell's series of plates "Collection of One Hundred Views in England and Wales," which was published in 1770.
Towards the middle of the eighteenth century, a genre was developed among English artists and printmakers that sought to record the natural beauties of England and Wales. Sparked by a sense of national confidence and patriotism, printmakers began to publish topographical views of the important sights in the British Isles. Intending to encourage public recognition of the beauty and history of England, printmakers sought English and foreign tourists desiring a memento of their travels and "armchair travellers" who collected topography instead of traveling. John Boydell made a name for himself by joining this nationalistic trend and publishing several series of topographical engravings. John Boydell was one of the most influential figures in the history of English printmaking. He was not only an accomplished engraver and an industrious publisher, but also a print seller who came to dominate the English print trade. He is best known as the originator of the Shakespeare Gallery, which made him one of the most successful print-sellers of his time. Woolwich was the site of the Royal Military (founded in 1741) and the Royal Arsenal.
Cf. Adams, London Illustrated 16404-1851 47; cf. Clayton, The English Print 1688-1802, pp. 115-116 & 155.