This view or ‘prospect’ of Oxford shows the historic city as it was in the early 18th century. The view is dominated by the towers and spires of the many religious and academic buildings of Oxford. Above each, there is a number which refers to the key below.
This panorama is part of a series of prospects of England and Wales, produced by brothers Samuel and Nathaniel Buck between 1728 and 1753. The brothers undertook tours around England and Wales every year, producing detailed views of the locations they visited. They would typically plan their travels carefully, advertising their work in the local press of the places they intended to visit before arriving, in the hope of attracting potential subscribers. The prospects were published over a number of years and were made available to non-subscribers only after all the impressions had been collected.
The south-west prospect of Oxford was taken from North Hinksey Hill from where many of the city’s familiar landmarks could be viewed.
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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