A View from the Park near Highgate looking over Hampstead Reservoirs towards London
Coloured aquatintpublished 1804
About the work
The dome of St Paul’s Cathedral dominates the background in this distant view of London, while the foreground is occupied by the shrubs and parkland of Hampstead Heath.
The Hampstead Water Company, formed in 1692 to meet London's growing water demands, dammed Hampstead Brook (one of the Fleet River's sources) in 1777 to help meet London's growing water demands. The company created a series of reservoirs on the Heath's east (Highgate) side to contain the water, before transporting it to London. Most of these reservoirs, or Hampstead Ponds, survive to this day and are now in use as swimming pools, a model boating pond and two wildlife reserves: the Stock Pond and the Bird Sanctuary Pond.
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.
Landscape artist Francis James Sarjent was based in London. He gave his address as '10, Howland Street' (off Tottenham Court Road), when he exhibited two works at the Royal Academy in 1802 and 1803. They were titled 'View of the city of London from the fields below Hampstead' and 'A View of Woolwich, looking down the river'. A watercolour by Sarjent was sold through Christie's, London, in 1987 and two further watercolours by the artist were sold through Sotheby's, London, in 1985 and 1994.