THE NORTH PROSPECT OF WOOLWICH, IN THE COUNTY OF KENT Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel Buck

$ 5,525.00

17.75 x 33.75 Inches.

Samuel and Nathaniel Buck were brothers who were born in Yorkshire, England at around the turn of the 18th century. After spending their formative years in the north, they moved south to the great bustling metropolis that was London, as so many rural people did in those days, seeking their possible fame and fortune. As young men, around 1724, they set out and began an ambitious work to traverse each and every county within England and Wales. They began to engrave and prepare the particular countys antiquities  be they free standing or semi ruinous castles, stately homes, or religious and monastic buildings of importance and consequence  although many were in an extremely poor state of neglect and abject disrepair after the first King Henry VIII in the 16th century, and then Oliver Cromwell later in the 17th century had their respective religious purges. It was during the preparation of these collections of county antiquities that the Buck brothers struck on the novel idea to also engrave some of the more important cities and towns. So, in my opinion, what resulted was the most wondrous, most influential and most important topographical undertaking that was ever done of England and Wales, not only of the 18th century but also for many years afterward. Prior to Bucks magnificent copper plate panoramas, virtually nothing had been done to depict views of significant English cities and towns. Only a handful were included in the atlas by Braun and Hogenberg in their Civitates Orbis Terrurum published in Cologne in 1581. I honestly feel that there is nothing at all to compare with these exquisite panoramas, in terms of technical skill, engraved detail and sheer scale and size. I also feel that a huge debt of gratitude is owed to these two enterprising and ambitious brothers, who have left us not only with a wonderful and enduring legacy, but also a truly unique glimpse and brief insight into an English way of life that can never be replicated nor indeed pass our way ever again. Woolwich in 1739, when this wonderful copperplate engraving was published, was then in the southern English county of Kent, however, in the 1880s it was absorbed into the London Borough of Greenwich. Woolwich for centuries had been a quiet riverside village, until it began to become a larger and important industrial centre. For example; in the fifteenth century it had a Royal Arsenal, in 1512 it has become a dockyard, in the eighteenth century it housed the Military Academy, and was home to the Royal Horse Artillery. It may now add the Royal Horse Artillery Museum to its growing list of achievements. Fans of English football may already know that the famous Arsenal Football Club was founded in the town in 1886, by workers employed at the Royal Arsenal. The club had various names in its early years, but was known as The Woolwich Arsenal from 1891 until around1913, when the club moved from its Woolwich headquarters to its new stadium in Highbury, North London. Samuel and Nathaniel Buck display Woolwich as an orderly town happily spread along the River Thames. Some rowing boats and other craft are to be seen on the river.The nearby villages of Charlton and Shooters Hill are glimpsed in the distance.The two town Watergates are seen at the rivers edge, along with a building named The Ropery. Two fine churches, the old and the new, are seen just above the dockyard, to the left of the Sand Key, where vessels are seen in dry dock. There is slight discoloration to the centerfold, and there is some age toning. This is a rare and significant opportunity to acquire one of these much sort after panoramas by Englands premier topographical engravers, and is entirely in keeping with Arader Galleries fine and long standing tradition of only offering items of the highest quality for forty years.Description prepared for Arader Galleries by Ian Williams, who has had over 20 years experience in maps and decorative prints._