The water works were built in 1723 to supply fresh water to London. They were located on the banks of the River Thames at Chelsea at the north end of present-day Chelsea Bridge. Originally constructed using a water wheel but here the pumping engine seen is most likely a Newcomen steam engine. In 1829 the world’s first water purification system was installed here. In 1869 the site became part of the route of the railway line into Victoria.
John Boydell (1719-1804) was born in Dorrington, Shropshire in 1719 and began his career as a land surveyor just like his father Joseph before him. He then began a career as an engraver before moving into the business of printing and publishing. He famously purchased the plates of William Hogarth from his widow. Large oblong views of London were particularly popular in London during the middle and latter portion of the eighteenth century. More than anyone it was Boydell who was responsible for making the print trade in London more export orientated than import. Many of his views were later collected into ‘A Collection of Views of England and Wales’ first published in 1770. Adams 47.5, Cohen (1985) (1985). ‘The Thames 1580-1980 A General Bibliography’ p. 86-7; Worms and Baynton-Williams.