Luxury Design, Past & Present
Four early 18th century copperplate engravings from Britannia Illustrata, The Principal seats of the Nobility and Gentry of Great Britain published first between 1707 and 1712 and again in 1720. The plates depict stunning bird’s eye topographical views of significant English buildings and the estate grounds surrounding them. The views are important records of both architecture and formal garden design of the period, which in many instances have since been altered beyond recognition. The artists responsible were Leonard Knuff (1650-1722) and Johannes Kip (1652-1722) genius Dutch artists, who both drew and engraved this and similar work.
Very good antique condition with varying degrees of oxidation toning to all. Recently framed.
1) The Thames River front House of the Duke of Beaufort at Chelsea in Middlesex
2) Chiswick House, also in Middlesex
3) Melton Constable in Norfolk
4) Battsford in Gloucestshire
The image of the Chelsea house of the Duke of Beaufort is interesting for containing not only a depiction of the Thames, but also Holland House (the remains of which today are Holland Park in west London) on the far rear left, and Kensington House, which later became Kensington Palace, on the far rear right.
The image of Chiswick House also contains a view of Thames River frontage, a bit farther to the west of London. It is of further historical interest because the house depicted is no longer extant, having been replaced by the Palladian version of Chiswick House that remains today in 1729, not very long after this engraving was made.
Melton Constable Hall, in Norfolk, survives largely unchanged from the time of the making of the engraving.
Battsford is now known as Batsford Park in the Cotswolds and is today open to the public as Batsford Arboretum. The Elizabethan House was later modified and added onto, making it much more grand, since the time of the engraving, but still in keeping with its original style. The Mitford sisters lived here during World War I.
H: 23 ¼ W: 28 1/4 D: 1 ½