In this 18th-century view the town of Scarborough is busy with activity. Horse-drawn bathing boxes are seen on the beach and in the water, allowing bathers to enter and leave the water without being seen in their modest (by today’s standards) bathing suits. The sea is also crowed with vessels, including several tall ships.
In 1728 brothers Samuel and Nathaniel Buck commenced a project: to record views or ‘prospects’ of each of the principal towns and cities of England and Wales. Each prospect was drawn at a rural spot, some distance from the town itself and, when possible, from a height. When these were later published, a numbered key and an accompanying, descriptive text were included below the image. The text on this, 'The South Prospect of Scarborough' tells us:
‘… for the conveniency [sic] of Bathing wherein, in the proper Season they have a curious contrivance of Wooden Houses moveable on wheels. Here was formerly a famous Castle… seated on a remarkable high Rock… This Castle is now in ruins, having been demolished in the time of the Rebellion.’
Brothers Samuel and Nathaniel Buck were the leading British topographical draughtsmen and engravers of the 18th century. They produced several hundred drawings and engravings, including 87 ‘Prospects’ of England and Wales. The engravings are important visual records of the appearance of British urban landscapes prior to the Industrial Revolution. In many cases, the places depicted have since disappeared or changed beyond recognition. Their dedication in recording almost every corner of the country has left modern viewers with an invaluable record of Britain’s past. As demand for their prints fell away, Nathaniel took over a furniture business, while Samuel tried several professions, including teaching draughtsmanship and cleaning pictures.
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