V: Somerset Place
About the work
William Daniell’s view of ‘Somerset Place and the Adelphi’ shows the River Thames before the Embankment was reclaimed. Small sailing and rowing boats are seen on the river.
The Adelphi was a complex of buildings, including an elevated terrace of 22 private houses. The space below the terrace was rented out as warehouse accommodation. Built between 1768 and 1773, the development was an innovative but financially disastrous venture for the Scottish architect brothers Robert (1728-1792) and James Adam (1732-1794). With the exception of No. 7 Adam Street and one or two other properties, the buildings were demolished in 1936. Between 1936 and 1938 Adelphi House, an enormous art deco style office block designed by the architectural firm of Colcutt and Hemp, was built on the site.
This aquatint is one of a series of six prints, published as ‘Six Views of London’ (1805). The plates were both drawn and engraved by Daniell. The whereabouts of the original watercolours is now unknown. In December 1808, the ‘Morning Post’ included an advertisement for Daniell’s subsequent project: four prints of London docks, which stated: ‘Mr. Daniell has also published Six Views of London, coloured, price ten guineas.’
About the artist
William Daniell was a much travelled landscape painter. In 1784 he went to India with his uncle, the artist Thomas Daniell, where he assisted Thomas with his drawing and sketching. By the time they returned to England in 1794, William was not only a proficient draughtsman but had also perfected the art of aquatinting. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1807 and a Royal Academician in 1822. He refused the post of draughtsman to an Australian expedition to instead make numerous sketching tours throughout England and Scotland. Daniell is regarded as a superb aquatinter and his best works are thought to be among his Scottish views for ‘Voyage Round Great Britain’. He died in London in 1837.
- V: Somerset Place
- 1 January 1805
- Coloured aquatint
- height: 46.20 cm, width: 71.00 cm
- Purchased from Vicars Bros., March 1957
- GAC number