Fashionably dressed men and women enjoy the gardens in front of Kew Palace, while sheep also graze or lie on the grass. This engraving is plate 36 of the publication celebrating architect Sir William Chambers's achievement at Kew Gardens, one of the most sumptuous folios ever produced on a single garden: ‘Plans, Elevations, Sections, and Perspective Views of the Gardens and Buildings at Kew in Surry [sic]’ (1763). The work is dedicated to Princess Augusta and was paid for by George III. Alongside Robert Adam (1728-1792), Chambers was made Architect of the King’s Works. In this position he was responsible for the layout of Kew Gardens in Surrey and designed several constructions at Kew such as the Orangery and the Pagoda. This image was also published in the ‘Gentleman’s Magazine’ in 1763.
William Woollett was the son of an innkeeper, from Maidstone, Kent. In 1750 he was apprenticed to John Tinney at the Goldsmith’s Company. By 1759, he was studying at St Martin’s Lane Academy. Three years later he married Hannah but, after their five children died in infancy, Hannah also died in 1770. Woollett was later remarried to Elizabeth. His earliest prints are of country houses and gardens, after his own designs. He was first employed by John Boydell in 1760. His engraving after Richard Wilson’s ‘The Destruction of the Children of Niobe’ won him considerable critical acclaim and, as a result, Alan Ramsay invited him to engrave his portrait of George III. Woollett reportedly died ‘from the effect of an accident, unskilfully treated’.
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