The South West Prospect of St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall

Samuel and Nathaniel Buck (1696 - 1779)

Coloured engraving

24 May 1739
  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    St. Michael’s Mount is a small, steep, rocky island off the south coast of Cornwall, east of Penzance. At low tide it is connected by a causeway to the village of Marazion on the mainland. In 1144, a church was first built on the island by Abbot Bernard and consecrated by the Bishop of Exeter. In 1170 it was granted to the Benedictine monks of Mont Saint-Michel, an island off the coast of Normandy. Building work began on the first stone church in 1135. The Mount was purchased by Colonel St. Aubyn in 1659 and the Aubyn family have lived on the island ever since.

    This print of the island is from a series of views by Samuel and Nathaniel Buck. In 1720 the Buck brothers published views or ‘prospects’ of two panoramic drawings of English towns: Leeds and Wakefield. The success of these prints led to a project to produce a further eight town prospects (1720–25). In 1728 they extended the project to record ‘prospects’ of every remaining principal town (in this case an island) of England and Wales. Each was drawn at a rural spot, some distance from the location itself and, when possible, from a height.

  • 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 West Prospect of St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall
    24 May 1739
    Coloured engraving
    Purchased from the Parker Gallery, December 1965
    in Persian, handwritten in ink, centre left, below platemark
    GAC number