A View in the Island of Jamaica, of Roaring River Estate belonging to William Beckford Esq. near Savannah la Marr 
Engravingpublished 25 March 1778
About the work
This print is from a series of six views of Jamaica, which were commissioned by the sugar planter and historian William Beckford (1744-1799). Beckford was born in Jamaica, the son of Richard Beckford (died 1756), from whom he inherited four Jamaican sugar estates. He was also the nephew of William Beckford, Lord Major of London, and cousin of William Thomas Beckford, known for building Fonthill Abbey, in Wiltshire. After studying at Balliol College in Oxford, William Beckford travelled through Europe from 1767 to 1768. He later married and moved to Jamaica with his wife in February 1774, remaining there for 13 years. It was during his time in Jamaica that Beckford began to patronise artists he had met in England, inviting them to visit his Jamaican home. Among these artists were the portrait painter Philip Wickstead (died 1786) and landscape painter George Robertson (1742-1788).
About the artist
George Robertson was a landscape painter, who worked largely in watercolour. He also produced history paintings showing grand scenes from classical mythology or the Bible, and important historical events. He was born in London and studied there at Shipley’s Academy on the Strand (established in 1753) and in Italy. He later played an important role in the training of artists, prior to the foundation of the Royal Academy in 1765. In 1774, Robertson accompanied the historian William Beckford to Jamaica, where he painted six landscapes, which were later engraved. He exhibited at both the Royal Academy and the Society of Artists. Robertson died in 1788 at his home near Elephant and Castle, in London.
Thomas Vivares was born in Derby; the son of landscape engraver Francis Vivares. He was trained by his father and won several prizes for drawing or engraving at the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce between 1760 and 1766. He exhibited his drawings and engravings at the Free Society (1764 and 1782) and the Society of Artists (1782). Vivares married twice, both weddings were at St. Pancras Old Church in Camden, London. He spent a period of his career in Paris and, while there, engraved landscapes after French painter Pierre Alexandre Royer and Swiss printmaker and draughtsman Adrian Zingg.
- A View in the Island of Jamaica, of Roaring River Estate belonging to William Beckford Esq. near Savannah la Marr 
- published 25 March 1778
- Purchased from Frank T. Sabin, July 1962
- GAC number