PUGIN, Augustus Charles (1762-1832)
Paris, taken from the Pont-Neuf
London: R.Ackermann, January 1821. Hand-coloured aquatint engraving by T.Sutherland after Pugin. Sheet size: 19 x 23 1/2 inches.
A fine architectural view of Paris and the river Seine, looking north-west and enlivened by much period detail of everyday life.
Hand-coloured aquatint engraving by T. Sutherland after Pugin. This view from the Pont Neuf, which cuts across the tail of the Ile de la Cité, presents a spectacular panorama of the city up-stream from Notre Dame: to the right is the Louvre with trees of the Tuileries gardens just visible beyond, of the two bridges, one is a foot-bridge giving easy access to the Louvre, and beyond the more substantial structure of the Pont Royal. In the foreground there is much activity on the river: a makeshift barge balanced with barrels is poled downriver, to the left a more traditional craft is about to pass out of view, in the mid-ground the establishments of the washerwomen can be seen, clothes hang out to dry while the next batch of laundry is scrubbed in the river. "Pugin (1762-1832), architect, archæologist, and architectural artist, was born in France, and claimed descent from a distinguished French family. Driven from his country either by the horrors of the revolution or by private reasons connected with a duel, he came to London about 1798, and soon found employment as a draughtsman in the office of John Nash…. To increase his powers as an artist, he entered the schools of the Royal Academy… He further revived acquaintance with Merigot, an aquatint engraver, who formerly had been a drawing-master to his father's family, and studied under him with advantage. Nash, who treated his pupils and assistants with great kindness and hospitality, discovered in Pugin a valuable subordinate... The truthfulness of Pugin's drawings in form and colour at once attracted attention. A change was then coming over water-colour art. The old style of brown or Indian ink outline with a low-toned wash was giving way to the more modern practice of representation in full colour, and Pugin, though he limited his palette to indigo, light red, and yellow ochre, was an active supporter of the new movement, and to his influence its ultimate predominance was largely due. In 1808 Pugin was elected an associate of the Old Water-colour Society, which had been founded in 1805, and he was a frequent exhibitor at the annual exhibitions held first in Lower Brook Street and subsequently in Pall Mall… About the same time Pugin was employed on Ackermann's publications, notably the 'Microcosm,' for which he supplied the architectural portions of the illustrations, Rowlandson executing the figures. ….Meanwhile Nash and his works were not altogether neglected. Pugin in 1824 was asked to make the drawings for a volume illustrating the Brighton Pavilion, and while he was engaged upon the work George IV, who came to watch, accidentally upset the colour-box, and, mindful perhaps of illustrious parallels in the past, picked it up with an apology that greatly gratified the artist" (DNB). The present separately issued plate led to a latter publication "Views of Paris and Environs," (London: 1828-1831), with plates of similar subjects but published in a much smaller quarto format.