This view of Woolwich includes a mother and child with a dog, seen in the right foreground, walking along a path. The town of Woolwich itself is in the middle distance, beyond a field. In the background ships sail on the River Thames.
Joseph Farington’s view of ‘Woolwich’ was issued as Plate XXII of ‘An History of the River Thames’, published in two volumes by John Boydell between 1794 and 1796.~ The successful and acclaimed publication was the result of a collaboration between several leading figures involved in book production. The text was written by William Combe (who also wrote the ‘Dr. Syntax’ series), 76 aquatint illustrations were engraved by Joseph Constantine Sadler after paintings by Joseph Farington, the lettering was designed by typefounder William Martin (died 1815) and the volumes were printed by William Bulmer (c.1757-1830).
Joseph Farington was born in Leigh, Lancashire, son of the vicar of Leigh and rector of Warrington. He was educated in Manchester and studied under Richard Wilson in London from 1763. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1769 and became an Academician in 1785. His strength was in pen, ink and wash drawings of topographical views. He made extensive sketching tours of the UK and settled in the North Country from 1776. Works made there led to the publication ‘Views of the Lakes of Cumberland and Westmorland’ (1785). In 1780 he suffered a breakdown after his wife died. In the next year he moved to London. He died on a visit to his brother in Lancashire, when he fell down steps at Didsbury Church. His personal diaries were published in 1934.
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