The South Prospect of Leicester

Samuel and Nathaniel Buck (1696 - 1779)

Coloured engraving

published 25 March 1743
  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    In this view, published in 1743, the town of Leicester seems to curve around a field. The spires and towers of several churches rise high above the other buildings and are each numbered and named in the key below. In the foreground, several local people are represented, some hunting or busy with farming duties, others apparently at leisure, enjoying the countryside.

    In 1728, whilst also working on a project to publish sets of prints illustrating the remains of buildings of antiquity including castles and churches, the brothers Samuel and Nathaniel Buck commenced a parallel 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 Leicester’ tells us:

    ‘It is noted for one of the greatest Markets in England for Corn, Cattle and Meat, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; and for its Fairs on the Eve of Palm-Sunday, the 1st of May, Midsummer-Day, Michaelmas-Day, and the 8th of December.’

  • 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 Prospect of Leicester
    published 25 March 1743
    Coloured engraving
    height: 30.50 cm, width: 78.50 cm
    Purchased from the Parker Gallery, March 1968
    GAC number