View near Blackfriers [sic] Bridge
Aquatint20 February 1777
About the work
This 18th-century aquatint print shows a view on the River Thames. It includes Blackfriars Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral beyond, viewed through a ‘feigned’ oval.
Thames views were a popular subject with artist William Marlow and the Government Art Collection also includes an oil painting by the artist of the ‘View of Blackfriars Bridge’ (see GAC 15028).
This work (a pair with GAC 1218) was engraved from a painting then ‘in the Possession of David Garrick’. The painted versions which belonged to actor and playwright David Garrick (1717-1779) are probably the pair of paintings now in the collection of the City of London Corporation.
About the artist
Aquatint engraver Francis Jukes was born in Martley, Worcestershire. Nothing is known of his parents. He initially worked as a topographical painter, before becoming one of the first British aquatint engravers. He is thought to have learnt the method from Paul Sandby and some of his first aquatints are after Sandby’s designs. Dukes mainly produced prints of landscape or seascape subjects. He illustrated the Rev. William Gilpin’s ‘Observations on the River Wye’ (published 1782). His early prints were published in collaboration with Valentine Green and he later collaborated with Robert Pollard. Illness towards the end of his life may have been caused by fumes from the acid he used in the aquatinting process. He died in 1812, aged about 67.
Landscapist William Marlow was born in London or Southwark. He trained in the studio of marine painter Samuel Scott in Covent Garden (1756-61) and is also thought to have studied at the St Martin’s Lane Academy. Marlow spent his early career travelling around England in search of subjects; painting English country houses and the areas around Twickenham, Richmond, and the lower banks of the Thames. On the advice of the Duchess of Northumberland he travelled to France and Italy (1765-66). He exhibited at the Society of Artists, becoming Vice-President in 1778, and at the Royal Academy. Marlow lived for a time in Leicester Fields (now Leicester Square). His one pupil was John Curtis. In c.1785 he retired to Twickenham, where he died aged 72.
Valentine Green, engraver of portraits and historical subjects after works by his contemporaries, was born at Salford, Worcestershire. He was intended for a career at the Bar, but without his father’s consent, became apprenticed to an obscure line engraver in Worcester. When he came to London in 1765 he began working in mezzotint and engraved nearly 400 plates over the next 40 years. In 1775 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy and was appointed Mezzotint Engraver to George III. In 1789 he obtained the exclusive privilege of engraving the pictures of the Dusseldorf, but was ruined when the city was besieged in 1798. In 1805 he was made Keeper of the newly founded British Institution, a post he retained until his death.