HAVELL, After William (1782-1857)
Staines Church, with the city stone of the banks of the Thames
London: Robert Havell, 1 May 1811. Aquatint, printed in colours and finished by hand, by Robert & D. Havell. Good condition apart from some wormholes in the lower right quadrant. Image size (including text): 13 7/8 x 19 1/2 inches. Sheet size: 17 1/8 x 22 1/8 inches.
A fine image from the very rare first edition of Havell's "A Series of Picturesque Views of the River Thames", one of the greatest English colour-plate view books ever published
This is from the almost unobtainable original edition published in 1812 with plates aquatinted by Robert Havell from his cousin's watercolours. It marked the start of a long series of important publications by Robert Havell that were to culminate with his work on Audubon's Birds of America. A second edition was published by Thomas McLean in London in 1818. The British Dictionary of National Biography describes William Havell as being "one of the best early painters in watercolour", an artist of the highest calibre whose images are "distinguished by pure and delicate colour". Born in 1782 in Reading, England, he travelled widely in his search for subjects: Wales, the Lake District, Europe and eight years in India and Burma. However, the present print, one of a series drawn from the river that flowed through his home town is arguably his best work. The panoramic views betray the artists intimate understanding of his subject, he ably captures both the river as a calm focus for scenes of great picturesque beauty as with the present print, and the river as a vital highway for both transport and trade.
Cf. Abbey Scenery 433; cf. Tooley p. 141; cf. Prideaux p. 265.