The city of Oxford is represented in this early 18th-century print as a cluster of spires and large, castellated buildings, interspersed by rows of residential housing and uniformly spaced rows of trees. The foreground is a jigsaw of irregular-shaped fields, which are dissected by the River Cherwell and the River Isis (or Thames; the Thames is known as the Isis for some 10~miles in the vicinity of Oxford).
The main buildings in the image are numbered and below the image is a key which gives the names of the buildings. Included in the key is St. Mary Magdalen, New College, All Souls and Queens College.
Sutton Nicholls, draughtsman and engraver, is best known for his panoramic views of the cities of London and Westminster, but also produced prospects of gentlemen’s seats, like this example. Almost all his works were made as commissions for publishers, the earliest of which were illustrations to Philip Ayres’s ‘Emblems of Love in Four Languages’. Nicholls specialised in topographical and architectural designs and his bird’s-eye views of London illustrated ‘Prospects of the Most Noted Buildings in and about London’ (published by John Bowles in 1724). He also produced ward maps to illustrate John Strype’s edition of John Stowe’s ‘Survey of London’, published in 1720.
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