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The South-West Prospect of the City of Canterbury

Samuel and Nathaniel Buck (1696 - 1779)

Coloured engraving

published 25 March 1738
  • About the work
    Country: New Zealand
    City: Wellington
    Place: British High Commission

    This distant view or ‘prospect’ of Canterbury in Kent was drawn and published in the early 18th century by brothers Samuel and Nathaniel Buck. In the foreground two well-dressed men and a lady admire the view of the city, seen beyond lush green fields, with us.

    In 1720 the Buck brothers published proposals for engraved views or ‘prospects’ of two panoramic drawings of English towns: Leeds and Wakefield. The success of the prints led to a further eight town prospects. In 1728 they extended the project to record ‘prospects’ of every remaining principal town of England and Wales. Each was drawn at a rural spot some distance from the town itself and, when possible, from a height. The prospects were published with a numbered key and descriptive text below the image. The text for ‘The South-West Prospect of the City of Canterbury’ includes the following:

    ‘Antiquities are found here; as Arches in ye City Walls, now stopped up, but once Gates answering to Watling Street & Stone Street. And in digging in and about ye City Pavements, Foundations, Urns & other remains of that People are frequently discover’d, with abundance of their Coins.'

  • About the artist
    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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  • Details
    The South-West Prospect of the City of Canterbury
    published 25 March 1738
    Coloured engraving
    Purchased from the Parker Gallery, March 1968
    GAC number