View of Somerset House / Vue de Somerset House
Coloured aquatintpublished 1833-1850
About the work
This image was originally published as plate four of Havell’s ‘Views of the Public Buildings and Bridges’. The series of twelve prints was published in 1820-21 by Messrs. Colnaghi & Co. of Cockspur Street, London. It was then reissued sometime between 1833 and 1850 by Francis West, who principally worked as an optician but also had a sideline as a publisher and printseller. This is an example of the later version of the print.
About the artist
Robert Havell senior, son of artist and publisher Daniel Havell, was born in Reading but moved to London as a child. After Robert launched his career, father and son collaborated on illustrations for Henry Salt’s ‘Twenty Four Views Taken in St. Helena’ (1809–10). However, the partnership was short-lived and Robert later established himself at premises in Fitzrovia. He married Lydia Miller Phillips and had a son, Robert junior. Robert junior and his father formed the firm of R. Havell & Son, working on numerous projects including ‘Birds of America’ for John James Audubon. The scale of this project led them to employ 50 additional staff and move to larger premises in Oxford Street. Robert senior died a year after the company expansion.