THE SOUTH EAST PROSPECT OF THE CITY OF ELY Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel

$ 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. The city of Ely, was once the Isle of Ely  before the wet, low lying surrounding fens were drained. The city had an abbey which was founded in late seventh century, however it was destroyed by the Danes in 870, and not rebuilt until a century or so later. The medieval masterpiece that is the cathedral was begun around 1083 under the reign of William I. In 1322 the main tower collapsed, and was subsequently rebuilt in an octagonal shape, and completed in 1351. One of Elys more famous former residents was Oliver Cromwell, he resided in the city for several years. In Samuel and Nathaniel Bucks detailed copperplate engraving of the city in 1743, we find ourselves in the midst of a lovely, tranquil English pastoral scene; with cattle grazing and being milked in the foreground. Ducks are on a pond, a lucky couple of gentlemen are out for a gallop on their horses, and sail barges are being pulled up the River Ouse by a pair of horses on the toe path. Behind these scenes of domestic bliss we encounter the prominent public buildings and churches of the city, however, they are all completely dominated by the soaring cathedral. 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. Description prepared for Arader Galleries by Ian Williams.