A South View of the Cities of London and Westminster, taken from Denmark Hall near Camberwell
Coloured engravingpublished 1 May 1779
About the work
Robertson’s view of London from Camberwell demonstrates just how rural the outskirts of the capital were in the later 18th century. Camberwell, now a built-up area only just outside the centre of London, was then a village situated amid fields and was known for its flowers and fruit trees. 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.
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.