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View, England, York, Vue d’optique, Castle Howard, Antique Print, Laurie & Whittle, London, c. 1800

$450

A. Walker (artist and engraver)
A View of the Noble House and Part of the Garden of Castle Howard
Laurie & Whittle, London: c. 1800-10
Hand-colored copperplate engraving
13 x 18 inches, platemark
13.5 x 18.5 inches, overall
$450

View of Castle Howard and part of its grounds, with elegantly dressed men, women and children out walking on a sunny day. One of the designated Treasure Houses of England, this English country house was built at the beginning of the 18th century for the Earl of Carlisle, a member of the Howard family, in North Yorkshire, England. The Howards still live there today and it is also open to the public as a historic house. Castle Howard appeared as the fictional “Brideshead” in the 1981 television and 2008 movie versions of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. Titled in English and French below the image.

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Description

This view is in the general format and size of a vue d’optique — a perspective view produced as a hand-colored print generally intended to be viewed through a convex lens. Vues d’optique often were rendered in high-key color and dramatic linear perspective which enhanced the illusion of three-dimensionality when viewed through the lens, making it seem like the viewer was really there. Thus, they served as a form of visual entertainment. The viewing devices were known variously as zograscopes, optiques, optical machines and peepshows. According to the Getty Research Institute, street performers would set up viewing boxes with a series of prints giving a pictorial tour of famous landmarks, dramatic events and foreign lands. Vues d’optique were also purchased by Grand Tour travelers as souvenirs to be viewed at home as a parlor activity. To cater to this broad audience, the prints often had titles and descriptions in two or more languages. Because the images are reversed in viewing devices, the main titles on some vues d’optique are backwards. Vues d’optique were also hung on walls as decoration.

Robert Laurie (1755-1836) and James Whittle (1757-1818) were London map, chart and printsellers active from 1794 to 1812 trading variously as Laurie and Whittle or Whittle and Laurie. Laurie began his career as an accomplished mezzotint engraver and exhibited at the Society of Artists from 1770 to 1776. With Whittle, he took over the large map and print business of Robert Sayer. Laurie & Whittle published many atlases and maps and products used for jigsaw puzzles. Robert’s son, Richard Holmes Laurie, succeeded him upon his retirement in 1812, and after Whittle’s death in 1818 carried on the business alone until at least 1840. The firm still exists as Imray, Laurie, Norie and Wilson Ltd., which has long specialized in marine charts.

Full title and publication information: “A View of the Noble House and part of the Garden of Castle Howard, the Seat of the right Hon’ble the Earl of Carlisle near New-Malton in Yorkshire. Vüe du Chatteau et partie du Jardin de Castle Howard. Published by Laurie & Whittle, 53, Fleet Street, London.”

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

References:

“Castle Howard.” AbsoluteAstronomy.com. 2009. http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Castle_Howard (29 May 2009).

“Emperor’s Palace in Beijing.” Devices of Wonder. J. Paul Getty Trust. 2001. http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/devices/html/homepage.html (30 September 2002).

Maxted, Ian. “The London book trades 1775-1800: a preliminary checklist of members.” Exeter Working Papers in British Book Trade History. 2001. http://bookhistory.blogspot.com/2007/01/london-1775-1800-l.html and http://bookhistory.blogspot.com/2007/01/london-1775-1800-w-z.html (20 May 2009).

Additional information

Century

19th Century