The South Prospect of Reading, in the County of Berks

  • About the work
    Country: Nepal
    City: Kathmandu
    Place: British Embassy

    This panoramic view or ‘prospect’ of Reading in Berkshire shows the town as it was in the early 18th century. The view is dominated by a gnarled tree in shadow in the foreground and the towers of three churches in Reading. Above each significant building or structure is a number, which refers to the key below. No. 14 is the remains of Reading Abbey, which seems remarkably unchanged from its appearance today.

    This engraving is part of a series of prospects of England and Wales, produced by brothers Samuel and Nathaniel Buck between 1728 and 1753. The brothers undertook tours around England and Wales every year, producing detailed views of the locations they visited. They would typically advertise the planned engraving in the local press before they arrived to draw the view, in the hope of attracting potential subscribers. The prospects were published over a number of years and were made available to non-subscribers only after all the impressions were published.

    Text below ‘The South Prospect of Reading’ describes the town as follows:

    ‘...The Town is Populous, and the Woollen Manufacture has been carried on here with great Industry & Success; but the principal Trade is now Malting and Meal.’

  • About the artist
    Brothers Samuel and Nathaniel Buck made their names as leading British topographical draughtsmen of the 18th century. Over a period of 34 years, the Bucks produced several hundred drawings and engravings, including 87 engraved prospects of England and Wales. These are now important visual records of the appearance of British urban landscapes prior to the changes that occurred during the Industrial Revolution. In some cases, the places depicted have since disappeared or changed beyond recognition.
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  • Details
    The South Prospect of Reading, in the County of Berks
    Coloured engraving
    Purchased from Parker Gallery, April 1960
    GAC number