View of Bloomsbury Square
Coloured aquatint1 December 1787
- About the work
About the artist
Aquatint engraver Francis Jukes was born in Martley, Worcestershire. Nothing is known of his parents. He initially worked as a topographical painter, before becoming one of the first British aquatint engravers. He is thought to have learnt the method from Paul Sandby and some of his first aquatints are after Sandby’s designs. Dukes mainly produced prints of landscape or seascape subjects. He illustrated the Rev. William Gilpin’s ‘Observations on the River Wye’ (published 1782). His early prints were published in collaboration with Valentine Green and he later collaborated with Robert Pollard. Illness towards the end of his life may have been caused by fumes from the acid he used in the aquatinting process. He died in 1812, aged about 67.
Robert Pollard was born in Newcastle and apprenticed to a watchmaker. He moved to London in 1774 and trained under painter R. Wilson and engraver I. Taylor. By 1781 he had settled in Islington, where he set up as an engraver and publisher. His earliest prints were views of naval actions. Pollard frequently worked with engravers R. Dodd and N. Pocock and sometimes published his own designs. Many of his prints combine different methods of engraving, although aquatint was often added by a specialist. In 1789 he was elected Director of the Incorporated Society of Artists. Pollard moved to Lower Holloway in 1810, selling his print stock, but there he began publishing sporting views, mostly designed by his son James (1792-1867). He died aged 83.
Edward Dayes was born in London and apprenticed to mezzotinter and painter William Pether. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1786. During his early career he worked as a miniaturist, later concentrating on the topographical landscapes in watercolour for which he is best-known. Thomas Girtin was a pupil of Dayes’ until an argument between the two seems to have led to Girtin’s imprisonment. Although not a pupil, J. M. W. Turner also studied Dayes’s work and some watercolours by Turner from the 1790s are virtually indistinguishable from those of Dayes. Towards the end of his career, Dayes began working in oils with less success. He was known as a difficult character with a fiery temper and committed suicide in London in 1804.