“Great Marlow.” From Boydell’s History of the River Thames London: J. & J. Boydell, 1794-6. 8 1/8 x 12 3/8. Aquatint by Joseph Constantine Stadler. Full original hand color. Very good condition.
John Boydell, a land surveyor in the employment of his father, was inspired by an engraving by W.H. Toms to leave his home in Shropshire about 1750 and walk to London to apprentice himself to Toms. After six years, Boydell set up his own shop and thus began his career as one of the greatest of print publishers. Boydell was much concerned with the French dominance of the European print market at mid-century, and it was mostly by his efforts that by the 1780s it was British engraved prints that were dominant. One of John’s later projects, published with Josiah Boydell, was this series of views of the Thames River Valley. These prints, drawn by Joseph Farington, are excellent examples of the art of aquatinting, and they provide an intimate look at the heart of England during the late eighteenth century.