A North View of the Cities of London and Westminster, with part of Highgate taken from Hampstead Heath, near the Spaniards

George Robertson (1742 - 1788)
Daniel Lerpinière

Coloured engraving

published 10 June 1780
  • About the work

    Robertson’s view of London from Hampstead Heath demonstrates just how rural the outskirts of the capital were in the later 18th century. We can recognise Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral, which, apart from the sheer size of the urban sprawl, are the main means of identifying the distant city as London.

    Hampstead Heath was already a fashionable area in the late 18th century, following the discovery of springs there. The Spaniards was (and is) a 16th-century tavern, which had been frequented by Dick Turpin earlier in the 1700s. In June 1780, a mob of Gordon rioters had descended upon the Spaniard on their way to attack Kenwood House and (after consuming a certain amount of alcohol) had been disarmed there. This print was published within only a matter of days of the incident. The Spaniards was also known to attract a number of literary greats, including Shelley, Keats, Byron and Dickens.

  • About the artist
    George Robertson was a landscape painter, who worked largely in watercolour. He also produced history paintings showing grand scenes from classical mythology or the Bible, and important historical events. He was born in London and studied there at Shipley’s Academy on the Strand (established in 1753) and in Italy. He later played an important role in the training of artists, prior to the foundation of the Royal Academy in 1765. In 1774, Robertson accompanied the historian William Beckford to Jamaica, where he painted six landscapes, which were later engraved. He exhibited at both the Royal Academy and the Society of Artists. Robertson died in 1788 at his home near Elephant and Castle, in London.
    Daniel Lerpinière was born to a French family, living in England. He trained as a pupil of French landscape engraver François Vivares (1709-1782), who had established a successful business in London and was a central figure in the formation of an English school of landscape engraving. Lerpinière was an etcher and engraver, not only of landscapes, but also of religious and sporting subjects. He produced engravings after contemporary artists, as well as after the work of Old Master painters.
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  • Details
    A North View of the Cities of London and Westminster, with part of Highgate taken from Hampstead Heath, near the Spaniards
    published 10 June 1780
    Coloured engraving
    Purchased from Vicars Bros., March 1957
    GAC number