The Town of Renfrew
London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1824. Hand-coloured aquatint, 'drawn on the spot by I. Clark'. Image size (including text): 14 7/8 x 21 7/8 inches. Sheet size: 18 3/4 x 24 1/2 inches.
An historically important topographical view of Renfrew, a Royal burgh, now in the Scottish region of Strathclyde in Scotland, from John Clark's 'Views in Scotland'.
There is some debate as to who executed this stunning print. There is no reference which identifies the author of this view, but there is some indication that it is the work of the celebrated painter John Heaviside Clark (1770-1863). Born in Scotland, Clark exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy between 1801 and 1832. He was primarily a landscape and marine painter, but he also produced a number of fine aquatints, which exhibit his exceptional talents as an engraver. Known as "Waterloo Clark" for his early sketches of the battle of Waterloo, he was a painter of some repute across the British Isles, and his beautiful views remain some of the most attractive images of the English countryside. A contemporary gazetteer notes that the town was 'a royal burgh and parish in the county of the same name.' (Fullarton [publisher's] A Gazetteer of the World 1856, VI, p.257). The population in 1821 was 2,646 and had risen to 3,898 by 1851. The town was within half a mile of the River Clyde, 3 miles north of Paisley and 6 miles west of Glasgow. The town consisted of 'only a single street, about a 1/2 mile in length, with some lanes. The inhabitants are chiefly occupied in the weaving of silks and muslins; and there is a bleachfield, and a starch manufactory' (op.cit). A modern source notes that Renfrew now has a population of 21,550 and the chief source of employment is from the shipyards and manufacturers of rubber, paint, and soap.
Cf. Abbey Scenery 489; cf. Prideaux p.331; Benezit, Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, vol 3, p. 676.