The East Prospect of Derby

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall

    This panoramic view of Derby, published in 1728, is part of the prospects of towns and cities in England engraved by Samuel and Nathaniel Buck. The topographical views are presented in an elongated format, incorporating a description of the town’s main features at the bottom. The view of Derby is dominated by the 1525 tower of All Saints Church, now known as Derby Cathedral. The River Derwent in the foreground is crossed by St Mary's Bridge to the right, at the head of which is located a fourteenth-century chapel. The explanatory inscription that accompanies the image also draws attention to Derby’s silk mill, the world’s first fully mechanised factory which was built in 1721 by George Sorocold and owned by the Lombe brothers. The Mill became a popular destination for tourists to visit, with Daniel Defoe visiting in 1742 and observing: ‘This engine contains 25,586 Wheels, and 96,746 Movements, which work 73,726 yards of Silk-thread, every time the Water Wheel goes round, which it does three times in one minute’. The original main building was almost completely destroyed by a fire in 1891. Another fire badly damaged the building in 1910 after which the mill was rebuilt. It is currently recognised as a World Heritage site. 

  • 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 East Prospect of Derby
    Coloured engraving
    Purchased from Parker Gallery, March 1965
    GAC number