Coloured aquatint1 June 1793
About the work
‘Blenheim’ was issued as a plate of ‘An History of the River Thames’, issued in two volumes by John Boydell between 1794 and 1796.~ This successful and acclaimed publication was the result of a collaboration between several leading figures involved in book production. The 76 aquatints included were engraved by Joseph Constantine Sadler after paintings by Joseph Farington.~ The text was written by William Combe (who also wrote the Dr. Syntax series). The lettering was designed by typefounder William Martin (died 1815) and the volumes were printed by William Bulmer (c.1757-1830).
This view of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire shows the lake and bridge, as well as the Palace itself. From 1764 to 1774, Lancelot Brown (better known as Capability Brown; c.1716-1783) was employed by George Spencer, Fourth Duke of Marlborough (1739-1817) to remodel the grounds at Blenheim. Brown’s designs for Blenheim, which included flooding the area beneath the stone bridge to create a great pool of water in front of the Palace, are regarded as one of his greatest achievements.
About the artist
Joseph Farington was born in Leigh, Lancashire, son of the vicar of Leigh and rector of Warrington. He was educated in Manchester and studied under Richard Wilson in London from 1763. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1769 and became an Academician in 1785. His strength was in pen, ink and wash drawings of topographical views. He made extensive sketching tours of the UK and settled in the North Country from 1776. Works made there led to the publication ‘Views of the Lakes of Cumberland and Westmorland’ (1785). In 1780 he suffered a breakdown after his wife died. In the next year he moved to London. He died on a visit to his brother in Lancashire, when he fell down steps at Didsbury Church. His personal diaries were published in 1934.