Lyme Regis, from Holm Bush Hill
About the work
This print depicts the view from Holm Bush Hill in Dorset, which includes the coast of Dorset and the town of Lyme Regis. A similar view, published by J. Newman of London, was used as an illustration to ‘The Beauties of Lyme Regis’ (1857), which gives an historical and descriptive account of the town and the surrounding area. The book was written by Rowland Brown and published by Daniel Dunster of Broad Street, Lyme Regis. However, this print is clearly later than the illustration, as the town has become more developed.
The second edition of ‘The Beauties of Lyme Regis’ was issued in 1860. In the back of the publication Dunster advertises 15 prints of views in or around Lyme Regis, including this example, which is available ‘colored [sic] or tinted’. An example of the tinted version is now in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. As well as his main business of ‘Bookseller, stationer, book-binder, copper-plate, and letter-press printer, circulating library, & c.’, Dunster also advertises ‘Houses to be let’, ‘Piano Fortes, on Sale or Hire’, and ‘A select stock of Perfumery… [including] oil, fancy soaps, dentifrice, and every other Toilet requisite’.
About the artist
George Willis is likely to be the soldier and artist Lieutenant George Brander Willis (1790¬-1868) of the Royal Artillery. Willis retired on half-pay in 1823 to his estates at Sopley Park, Hampshire. In 1834 he sold Sopley Park to John Kemp-Welch, owner of the Schweppes company. Although Willis is not known to have exhibited his work, he produced numerous landscape views including a ‘View of Bayonne’ (1814), etched and engraved by John Clark and Matthew Dubourg; a watercolour ‘Panoramic view of St Helier's, Jersey’ (c.1856) and a series of 25 drawings made during the Peninsular Compaign (1862). In addition his notebooks of 1814 to 1819 are of interest to ornithologists for their records of bird-life made in the area Kingston, Surrey.
Draughtsman and lithographer George Hawkins junior produced plates after his own designs and those by contemporary artists. Hawkins worked for the publisher Day and Son and specialised in topography and architectural subjects. Fellow lithographer Louis Haghe was a close friend and it was reported that when Haghe stopped engraving ‘Flemish groupings’ in ecclesiastical or medieval interiors, Hawkins was left unrivalled in the subject. He also produced lithographic views of cathedrals, ruined abbeys, churches, country estates and public buildings, including bridges and railway viaducts. Lithographer Alfred Newman was his pupil. Hawkins died following ‘a distressing and incurable malady’ in his 43rd year, at his home in Camden Town, London.