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View, England, London, Thames River, Joseph Farington, Antique Print, 1790s


Joseph Farington (1747-1821) (after)
J.C. Stadler (aquatint engraver)
View towards Bassilden from Streatley Hill
View from Upnor towards Sheerness

from A History of the River Thames
J. & J. Boydell, London: 1793-96
Color-printed aquatint, finished by hand
12.5 x 16 inches, overall
8 x 12.5 inches, image
15.75 x 19.5 inches, mat
$200 each

These prints are from Boydell’s famous work on the Thames, with plates after Joseph Farington, an influential Royal Academician and landscape artist. The entire work takes the form of a journey, illustrated by prints with descriptions, starting at Thames Head near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, via Oxford, Henley, Reading, London, and ending where the river enters the North Sea. The author and artist depict interesting features and landmarks along the way, including excursions along all the major tributaries. Eventually the rural riverscape gives way to the bustling metropolis of London where the river widens out and becomes a major thoroughfare for trade and shipping to the North Sea.


Joseph Farington was active in the social, cultural and professional art world of his time, and recorded in perceptions in a multi-volume diary. These diaries are still in print and provide a window into the lively era of the English Enlightenment. Among his Royal Academy students were John Constable and Henry Salt.

Joseph Constantine (J.C.) Stadler was a German-born aquatint engraver, active in London. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1787.

John Boydell (1719-1804) was a successful and influential printseller and engraver. Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery is credited with changing the course of English painting by creating a market for historical and literary works. He also encouraged the development of engraving in England with, among other things, his prints illustrating scenes from Shakespearean plays. In 1773, his nephew Josiah Boydell (1752-1817) became his business partner and later his successor, trading as J. & J. Boydell.

The author of the accompanying text, William Combe (1741-1823), is now best known for writing satirical verse tales of the adventures of a character named Doctor Syntax to accompany illustrations by Thomas Rowlandson. According to the Columbia Encyclopedia, his writing was mainly issued anonymously to avoid seizure of the proceeds by his many creditors.

Other prints by Farington from this Thames River series are in the collection of the Guildhall Library and Art Gallery in London.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual light toning, soiling, wear, soft creases.


Abbey Scenery 432; Prideaux pp. 331 & 266; Tooley pp. 67-69.

Guildhall Library and Art Gallery.

Maxted, Ian. “The London book trades 1775-1800: a preliminary checklist of members.” Devon County Council. 2001.

Rusche, Harry. “Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery.” Emory University. 1998.

“William Combe.” The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. 1994. Online at 2000.

Additional information


18th Century