Britannia Illustrata, the work in which this print originally appeared, was one of the most important topographical publications of the eighteenth century. It was first published in 1707 with the extended title Views of Several of the Queen’s Palaces also of the Principal Seats of theNobility and Gentry of Great Britain, and included eighty topographical views of grand estates. The two-volume edition of 1715 also included Kip’s plates for Sir Robert Atkyn’s Gloucestershire of 1712, followed by the five-volume Nouveau Théâtre de la Grande Bretagne.
Leendert Knijff, better known as Leonard Knyff, was born in Haarlem in 1650 and followed his brother Jacob (also an artist) to London at some point after 1676. In 1694, Knyff was made a British citizen. He began his career painting still lifes but became better-known in Britain for his views of gardens and country houses. The birds-eye view format, which was popularised in the UK by Knyff, is thought to have first been introduced to the British landscape tradition by his brother, Jacob.
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