Clive A. Burden LTD. Rare Maps, Antique Atlases, Books and Decorative Prints

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden‚Äč
P.O. Box 863,
Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks HP6 9HD,
Tel: +44 (0) 1494 76 33 13

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Samuel and Nathaniel Buck’s ‘A Prospect of Britain’ printed in London in 1774, is generally accepted as the finest collection of panoramas of British cities to be published in the eighteenth century. The work contained a series of 81 large views and was published by Robert Sayer. The brothers Samuel and Nathaniel Buck were born in Richmond, North Yorkshire and became interested in sketching town prospects because of Ralph Thoresby, a local antiquary. From 1719 they produced and published a series of views of towns in the north of England. Each was available to subscribers for between 2 and 5 shillings each. They soon outgrew the north and moved south to London. Their tours to sketch were prepared well in advance, potential subscribers being contacted before-hand usually through local press. The following summer season would be when the view was prepared. At the end of the season they would return to London and began the process of engraving. On occasions other artists were employed to enhance the foreground image and bring it to life, many including labourers, fishermen, sportsmen and peddlers. The work was finally completed in 1753 after 34 years. It has been suggested by Ralph Hyde that the engraver Jean-Baptiste Chatelain (1710-1771) may have been employed to produce many of the later plates.

The commercial success of the enterprise initially made the brothers wealthy. However they both appear to have developed financial problems later in life. Nathaniel Buck died in 1756 and in 1774 Robert Sayer acquired the copper plates from Samuel and published them here in ‘Buck’s Antiquities’, a magnificent three volume work priced at 20 guineas. In 1779 Samuel Buck died. Much of the topography documented in the views has subsequently been lost and they are a very valuable record of a pre-industrial Britain. These perspective panoramic views have never been surpassed; no other series of views ever published was as extensive or detailed. The front of the work bears a very fine mezzotint double portrait of Samuel and Nathaniel Buck dressed finely. It was engraved by Joseph Highmore after a painting by Richard Houston (1692-1780).

They provided the model for numerous derivatives including the inset views to Emanuel Bowen and Thomas Kitchin’s ‘Large English Atlas’ c.1755, Robert and James Dodsley’s ‘England Illustrated’ 1764, Nathaniel Spencer’s ‘Complete English Traveller’ 1773, George Walpoole’s ‘New & Complete English Traveller’ 1784 and the European, London and Universal Magazines from the 1750s. Provenance: London Antiquarian Book Fair 1996; private English collection; Clive A Burden Ltd. 2014; private English collection. Clayton, Timothy. (1997). ‘The English Print 1688-1802’ p. 65; Hyde, Ralph. (1985). ‘Gilded Scenes and Shining Prospects, Panoramic Views of British Towns 1575-1900’; Hyde, Ralph. (1994). ‘A Prospect of Britain, The Town Panoramas of Samuel and Nathaniel Buck’; Upcott I, page xxxiii.

BUCK, Samuel & Nathaniel

Buck's Antiquities; or Venerable Remains of above four hundred Castles, Monastries, Palaces, & c. & c. in England and Wales. With near ONE HUNDRED VIEWS of Cities and Chief Towns

Printed by D. Bond, and sold by Robert Sayer, London, 1774
THE FINEST COLLECTION OF BRITISH PANORAMAS IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. Three volumes, folio (Prospect volume 455 x 480 mm., 2 plate volumes each 465 x 300 mm.), Prospect with full contemporary marbled calf, gilt panelled boards, rebacked with ornate gilt compartments and titles, light wear, two volumes of plates in fine full contemporary tree calf, gilt panelled boards, ribbed spines with very ornate gilt decoration to panels and with both title and volume calf gilt labels affixed. Volume 1 with mezzotint portrait, engraved title page, pp. 24 including typographic title page, unnumbered list of plates, folding index map, and 224 numbered (mostly by hand) plates (2 folding); volume 2 with typographic title page not included in pagination, pp. 17, unnumbered list of plates on recto of last leaf, further plates numbered 225 to 428 (4 folding), plate 256 of the Cross at Bristol never bound but loosely inserted, Prospect volume with typographic title page, Preface with List of Plates to the verso, Additional Historical Accounts, pp. 22, and 83 double-page city prospects, plates 1, 4, 10, 21, 30, 36, 45 and 47 with lower centrefold splits, 32 with tear lower margin, 33 split in margin, first and last with a little creasing, some light foxing in some margins, generally a good example of a very rare work.
Stock number: 10737
£ 67,500
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