Beneath an impressive statue of King Charles I, two dogs are playing. Either side of them sedan chairs are available for hire. Their pairs of porters wait alongside for customers.
Sutton Nicholls’ print depicts the famous equestrian statue of Charles I at Charing Cross, where it stands today, just south of Trafalgar Square. The sculpture occupies the previous site of a 13th-century stone cross (‘Charing Cross’) which was one of twelve commissioned by King Edward after the death of his wife Queen Eleanor. Each cross originally marked the twelve stopping points made by Eleanor’s funeral procession from Lincoln to London. The bronze sculpture of Charles I was designed by French sculptor, Hubert Le Sueur (active 1585-1658) who was commissioned ‘to take the advice of the King’s riders of great horses for the shape and action of the horse and of his Majesty’s figure on the same…’.
Sutton Nicholls, draughtsman and engraver, is best known for his panoramic views of the cities of London and Westminster, but also produced prospects of gentlemen’s seats, like this example. Almost all his works were made as commissions for publishers, the earliest of which were illustrations to Philip Ayres’s ‘Emblems of Love in Four Languages’. Nicholls specialised in topographical and architectural designs and his bird’s-eye views of London illustrated ‘Prospects of the Most Noted Buildings in and about London’ (published by John Bowles in 1724). He also produced ward maps to illustrate John Strype’s edition of John Stowe’s ‘Survey of London’, published in 1720.
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