Category Archives: North America

Item of the Day: Microcosm of London [1808-1810]

Full Title: Microcosm of London. Vol. I. London: R. Ackermann, [1808-1810].

 

INTRODUCTION.

To expatiate the general utility of a work of this description, is hardly necessary; it embraces such a variety of subjects (dissimilar, it must be acknowledged, to each other), that some of them must be interesting to almost every man; and as the plates will be arranged alphabetically, the whole will form a sort of dictionary, that may be referred to for any particular subject.

Among the numerous inhabitants of this great city, there are some whose particular pursuits have so much engrossed their time and thoughts, that they know little more of the scenery which surrounds them than barely the names. Such a work as this may reasonably be expected to rouse their dormant curiosity, and induce them to notice and contemplate objects so worthy of their attention. Those to whom these scenes are familiar, it will remind of their various peculiarities, and this publication may possibly point out some which have hitherto escaped their observation. To such occasional visitors of the metropolis as wish to know what is most worthy of their attention and examination in this mighty capital of the British empire, it will afford information which cannot easily be estimated.

The great objection that men fond of the fine arts have hitherto made to engravings on architectural subjects, has been, that the buildings and figures have almost invariably been designed by the same artists. In consequence of this, the figures have been generally neglected, or are of a very inferior cast, and totally unconnected with the other part of the print; so that we may sometimes see men and women in English dresses delineated in an English view of an Italian palace, and Spanish grandees in long cloaks, and ladies in veils, seated in one of our own cathedrals.

To remove these glaring incongruities from this publication, a strict attention has been paid, not only to the country of the figures introduced in the differnet buildings, but to the general air and peculiar carriage, habits, &c. of such characters as are likely to make up the majority in particular places.

The architectural part of the subjects that are contained in this work, will be delineated, with the utmost precision and care, by Mr. Pugin, whose uncommon accuracy and elegant taste have been displayed in his former productions. With respect to the figures, they are the pencil of Mr. Rowlandson, with whose professional talents the public are already so well acquainted, that it is not necessary to expatiate on them here. As the follwing list comprises almost every variety of character that is found in this great metropolis, there will be ample scope for the exertion of his abilities; and it will be found, that his powers are not confined to the ludicrous, but that he can vary with his subject, and, whenever it is necessary, descend

From grave to gay, from lively to severe.

As six numbers will form a volume, the whole will be comprised in four handsome volumes, with each of which will be given a beautiful frontispiece; so that each volume will contain twenty-five highly finished plates, correctly designed and coloured from nature, with near two-hundred pages of letter-press.

As every possible attention will be paid to executing the different parts in a superior style, and rendering this work wothy of approbation and encouragement, the publisher is not afraid of obtaining it.

 

 

[SEE ALSO: MICROCOSM OF LONDON]

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Filed under 1800's, Culture, Eighteenth century, England, London, North America, Posted by Caroline Fuchs