London Topography

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Including views of and by: Ranelagh, Thomas Shotter Boys,  Grosvenor SquareThe Tower of London, Whitehall Palace, Marlborough HouseThe Microcosm of London, St. John's church, HollowayVauxhall Gardens, Kew Palace, Somerset House


Thomas Bowles.

  The Chinese House, the Rotunda, & the Company in Masquerade in Ranelagh Gardens. 

London, Thos. Bowles 1751. Copper engraving. 350x470mm. laid onto card. 

Price: £220

A fine, large view of the canal at Ranelagh, with musicians playing in the chinese pavilion (situated in the centre of the canal), and the immense Rotunda in the background. Fancifully dressed couples stroll in the wooded avenues on either side. Ranelagh Pleasure Gardens, Chelsea, were laid out in 1742. The Rotunda, built by William Jones, a surveyor for the East India Company, was 150 feet in diameter and heated by an enormous four sided fireplace in the centre, which also formed part of the support for the roof. Around the walls were booths for eating and drinking, and an orchestra in which Mozart once played. The Rotunda was used until 1803, by which time it had long been out of fashion, and demolished two years later. The site is now part of Chelsea Hospital gardens. 


London Ranelagh Coloured.JPG (38226 bytes)Anon (artist's signature illegible).

A View of the Canal, Chinese Building, Rotunde in Ranelagh Gardens, with Masquarade &c. 

(London, c. 1760). Copper engraving. Original hand-colouring. 260x435mm. Slight overall spotting and browning. 

Price: £120

A naively executed view of the floating chinese pavillion, with the Rotunda in the background, in Ranelagh Pleasure Gardens, Chelsea, west London, enlivened with fashionable patrons in exotic fancy dress. Ranelagh Pleasure Gardens were laid out in 1742. The Rotunda, built by William Jones, a surveyor for the East India Company, was 150 feet in diameter and heated by an enormous four sided fireplace in the centre which also formed part of the support for the roof. Around the walls were booths for eating and drinking, and an orchestra in which Mozart once played. The extensive gardens were laid out in a series of walks and groves, dimly lit at night with chinese lanterns, providing ideal trysting places for lovers. By the beginning of the nineteenth century the gardens had become a resort for less fashionable sections of society and  the haunt of thieves and pickpockets. In 1803 the Rotunda was demolished and the gardens finally closed two years later. The site is now part of Chelsea Hospital gardens. 


ShotterBoysRegentSt.JPG (49922 bytes)Thomas Shotter Boys.

Regent Street Looking Towards the Quadrant. (London, 1842 - 60). Tinted lithograph. Old but not original hand-colouring. 330x430mm. 


Price: £200

A lively view of the bustling pedestrians, carts and carriages in Regent Street central London, taken from the corner of Princes Street, which joins Regent Street to Hanover Square. Development of the new street, intended to link Regent's Park to the Prince Regent's palace at Carlton House, began in 1813 under the supervision of John Nash. Regent Street quickly became fashionable, drawing wealthy customers eastwards from Bond Street and Mayfair. This view looks south down Regent Street towards the junction with Piccadilly.


Grosvenor Square.JPG (110924 bytes)Anon. 

Vue de la Place de Grosvenor à Londres. 

Paris, Daument c. 1766. Copper engraving. Original hand-colouring. 270x400mm. 

Price: £150 

A vue d'optique with the title also above the image in mirror writing. An extremely rare, colourful view of Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London. The centrepiece of the 100 acre Grosvenor Estate, it was built between 1725-31, laid out with large handsomely equipped houses, and has always attracted residents of the highest social status. Much of the Square was rebuilt in the 1920’s by the second Duke of Westminster and only two of the original houses now survive. 


London Tower of Liberties.JPG (51578 bytes)(H. Hulsebergh) after William Hayward and J. Gascoyne.

A True and Exact Draught of the Tower Liberties, survey’d in the Year 1597. 

London, 1742. Copper engraving. 420x550mm. Trimmed within platemark, neat marginal repairs. 

Price: £180

A fine, large, detailed, keyed, bird’s-eye view of the Tower of London and its environs, as it appeared during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st. Before 1686 the Liberties of the Tower were restricted to the land within its walls and the area of Tower Hill immediately outside, which the Tower authorities were anxious to keep unoccupied for defensive purposes. However, after development began to encroach and the ancient monastic lands of the Minories, East Smithfield and the Old Artillery Ground, were added and their inhabitants granted special privileges 



London Marlborough House.JPG (46107 bytes)Sutton Nicholls.

Marlborough House, In St. James’s Park. 

London, John Bowles c. 1750. Copper engraving. 335x460mm. 

Price: £150

A view of the simple, dignified, classical frontage of Marlbrough House, built by Christopher Wren the Younger (under the supervision of his father) in 1709-11, for the 1st Duchess of Marlborough. The house was "Strong, plain, convenient, and with no resemblance to anything at Blenheim" according to the Duchess's wishes. The house was built of red Dutch bricks, brought to England as ballast in the troop transports that had carried soldiers for the Duke's army in Holland. Sarah herself supervised the completion of the house after dismissing Wren, because she felt that the contractors took advantage of him. In 1733 she tried to improve access to the house by making a new drive from the front entrance to Pall Mall but Robert Walpole, a bitter political rival, bought the leases of the houses there and obstructed the new gateway to spite her. The blocked up arch can still be seen. It was at the London house that Sarah spent much of her long widowhood beginning in 1722 and it was there that she died in 1744. During an early 1770's renovation, Sir William Chambers added a third story and put in marble fireplaces. The Dukes of Marlborough occupied the house until 1817 when the land reverted to the crown. Following the marriage of Princess Charlotte, daughter of the Prince Regent, to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1816, Marlborough House was give to the young couple. The house was being readied for the family to move into for the winter season of 1817-1818, but tragically Princess Charlotte died in childbirth before the house was ready. Prince Leopold used Marlborough House until he became King of the Belgians in 1831. In that year, King William IV came to the throne and Parliament provided that his consort Queen Adelaide should have Marlborough House for life in the event of her widowhood. Marlborough House is now used by the British government as a Commonwealth Centre.


London Mint Pugin Rowlandson.JPG (36087 bytes)   London British Institution Pugin Rowlandson.JPG (40919 bytes)   London Cock Pit Pugin Rowlandson.JPG (41959 bytes)   London Old Bond St Exhibition.JPG (45061 bytes)

Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin.

The Microcosm of London.

London, R. Ackermann 1808-10. Aquatints. Original hand-colouring. Average size:- 230x280mm

The publisher and drawing master Rudolf Ackermann (1764-1834), had come to London from Germany in his early twenties. A philanthropist and businessman, the money he raised to help Leipzig after its devastation by Napoleon in 1813 made him a public figure in both England and Germany. The Microcosm of London, which combined the comic genius (although kept on a tight leash by Ackermann) of Thomas Rowlandson who executed the figures  and the precise architectural draughtsmanship of Augustus Pugin, was intended to provide an intimate look at the the major buildings and landmarks of Georgian London.


British Institution, Pall Mall. 

Price: £120

Originally the print publisher Alderman John Boydells’ ‘Shakespeare Gallery’. After Boydell’s financial problems in 1805, the pictures were dispersed by lottery, and the gallery opened at an exhibition space, for the display of larger pictures by by British artists. This view shows students, both ladies and gentlemen, copying paintings exhibited on the walls. The building was demolished in 1868.


Exhibition of Water Coloured Drawings, Old Bond Street. 

Price: £150

Fashionably dressed visitors admire the exhibits. The galleries of the Society of Painters in Watercolours.


The Mint.

Price:  £130

A view of the Royal Mint in the Tower of London, with men minting coins on primitive stamping machines. The buildings of the New Mint at Tower Hill were finished by the end of 1809 (this view was published in February 1809), and the state of the art steam driven machinery was given a trial run in April 1810. During 1811 the transfer from the Tower was largely completed though it was August 1812 before the keys of the old Mint were finally delivered to the Constable of the Tower. The main building, designed by James Johnson and completed by Robert Smirke, achieved 'modest grandeur'. It was flanked by two gatehouses while behind it, and separated from it by an open quadrangle, were the buildings housing the machinery. There were dwelling houses for officers and staff and the site was surrounded by a boundary wall, along the inside of which ran a narrow alley. Patrolled by soldiers from the Mint's military guard, this alley became known as the Military Way.


Royal Cock Pit. 

Price: £85

The Royal Cockpit was first built by Charles II and located in Birdcage Walk, Whitehall. However, in 1810 Christ’s Hospital refused to renew the lease and a new building was constructed in Tufton Street, Westminster .


Surrey Institution. 

Price: £85

An interior view of the Rotunda of the learned scientific institution, established on Blackfriars Road, Lambeth in 1808. The object of the Institution comprised a 'series of lectures, an extensive library, and reading rooms; a chemical laboratory and philosophical apparatus &c..'  In spite of its eminent membership and the lecture series (one shown here) the society only survived until 1823. The building then went through various transformations until it was demolished in 1959 to make way for the dreadful United Africa House building. 


Holloway.JPG (75854 bytes)Anon. 

St. John’s Church, Upper Holloway. Revd. C. W. Edmonstone Incumbent. 

(London, c. 1830). Tinted lithograph. 310x410mm. 


Price:  £75

A fine, very rare, privately printed view of St. John the Evangelist Church, Holloway Road, north London, taken from the north. The brick church was designed by the young Charles Barry in 1822-26, and externally is a replica of his St. Paul’s, Ball Pond Road. This view clearly shows the extensive church with its side aisles and roof pinnacles, the newly developed houses and villas along Upper Holloway Road and passerbys, horsemen and carriages in the road. The churchyard, once at the rear of the church, was destroyed by the coming of the Great Northern Railway in the 1840’s, and the church now abuts Holloway Road station.


London Vauxhall Gallery.JPG (47517 bytes)Anon.

Vue interieure d'une belle Gallerie conduisant aux Jardins de Vauxhall. 

Paris, Basset c. 1760. Copper engraving. Original hand-colouring. 290x430mm. Neat repair to bottom of engraved surface and title area. 

Price: £130

A rare and interesting vue d'optique showing the elaborately decorated interior of the Grand Gallery and colonnade through to the gardens at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, with fashionably dressed patrons strolling in the foreground. The famous pleasure gardens at Vauxhall, south London opened just before the Restoration in 1660. Until the opening of Westminster Bridge in 1750 the gardens could only be reached by crossing the Thames by boat. Under the management of Jonathan Tyers between 1728-67, the gardens became one of London’s most popular resorts. Tyers added supper boxes, ruins, arches, pavilions, intimate wooded walks and a Gothick orchestra which could accomodate fifty musicians. In 1840 the owners went bankrupt and after  many revivals the site was finally built over in 1859.


London Kew Westall.JPG (25323 bytes)William Westall.

New Palace, Kew. 

London, Rodwell & Martin Jan. 1st 1823. Lithograph. Original hand-colouring. 220x320mm. Small old crease affecting title area. 

Price: £140

An interesting view of the new ‘Castellated’ Palace, Kew, taken from the Thames. This view shows the immense Rivergate, with the palace towers and pseudo Keep in the background. In 1802 George III had suddenly ordered the ancient White House at Kew to be demolished and moved his family into the neighbouring Dutch House (extant) while a new and grandiose house, built in the gothic style by James Wyatt, was constructed nearby. Costly and impractical it was never finished and after the King’s confinement at Windsor, Queen Charlotte continued to live at the Dutch House until her death in 1818. The Castellated Palace was ordered to be demolished by George IV in 1827.  



Strand, Somerset house.JPG (61565 bytes)Johann Georg Winckler. 

View of Somerset House with St. Mary’s Church, London.  

Augsburg, Georg Balthasar Probst c. 1760. Copper engraving. Bright original hand-colouring. 305x400mm. 

Price: £150

A very brightly coloured, naively executed, lively reversed optical view of old Somerset House in the Strand with the church of St. Mary le Strand in the middle of the road. The first Renaissance palace in England, Somerset House was begun in 1547 as a splendid London home for Lord Protector Somerset, but Somerset was executed only 5 years after construction began and while still unfinished the building passed to the Crown. It subsequently became a residence for the Stuart royal widows. Inigo Jones died here in 1652 while working on the building and Oliver Cromwell lay in state in 1658. After William and Mary came to the throne in 1688 the palace gradually fell into disrepair until it was demolished in 1775 and the present classical structure by Sir William Chambers built. The twelth century church of St. Mary le Strand situated in the centre of the road, was destroyed by Protector Somerset in 1549 to make way for Somerset House. He promised to rebuild but never did, and parishioners had to use the nearby Savoy Chapel for nearly two hundred years. In 1714-17 the present small baroque church was designed by James Gibbs, the church, inspired by his studies in Rome, was Gibbs’ first public building and gained him great reputation. Unfortunately, the church is now crumbling due to the combined effects of time, weather, heavy traffic and the blast of a wartime bomb.


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