THE SOUTH WEST PROSPECT OF NORTHAMPTON 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 Buck brothers Samuel and Nathaniel published this magnificent copperplate panorama of this south midlands town of Northampton in 1731. In the sweeping panorama, the Bucks have perfectly captured the towns rustic charms and character. The tightly packed urban housing, lying roughly between the towns four churches, is perfectly balanced by the sense of openness and space that is found all around the town. The River Nine (Nene) with wildfowl upon it is seen flowing slowly beside the town. Two bridges, The West Bridge and The South Bridge, at either end of the town are visible, as are some distant villages. Windmills, wells, mills, a jail, a hospital and the road to Towcester are all highlighted in great detail. A little known facet of the town is that in 1261, a group of scholars from Cambridge established a university within the town, but because of the possible threat it posed to nearby Oxford, the university was dissolved by King Henry III. During the English Civil War, the town was decidedly Parliamentarian, and after the restoration of the monarchy in the mid 1660s, King Charles II had the medieval castle and city walls pulled down as punishment. Fire twice destroyed the town, once in 1516, and again in 1675. Northampton, in English eyes at least, has always been associated with the leather, and shoemaking trades. In part, this is still the case today. The towns fortunes rose rapidly in the nineteenth century when both the Grand Union Canal, and the Railways came. Northampton was to benefit enormously from its being on the main London to Birmingham line. 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.