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.
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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