This view of the town of Chepstow and Chepstow Castle is taken from a height and includes the winding River Wye, spanned by a bridge. A horse drawn carriage heads across the bridge. This engraving was published as a plate to ‘Ancient and Present State of Glostershire [sic]’ (published 1712), written by topographer and antiquary Sir Robert Atkyns (c.1647-1711), who compiled comprehensive ancestries for the various manors and estimated the population of each parish. The result was the first folio-sized county history of Gloucestershire, including 65 engravings by Johannes Kip. These images are a record of numerous features of country seats, which have since been altered or entirely lost.
The Norman castle at Chepstow is situated on a rocky cliff above a curve in the River Wye. William the Conqueror first instructed the construction of a castle at Chepstow, recognising the strategic importance of the location; a crossing point on the River Wye. By the time this print was published in 1721, the owner was politician Henry Somerset, second Duke of Beaufort (1684-1714). The Dukes of Beaufort remained the owners until the castle was sold in 1914. It is now open to the public; owned and cared for by the Welsh Government.
Johannes Kip, an engraver, draughtsman and dealer, was born in Amsterdam in 1653 but later worked in Britain. He was associated with the court of William of Orange and moved to London shortly after William landed in England with his forces in 1688 to claim the English crown. Kip produced a large body of work for British publishers, ‘Britannia Illustrata’ being one of his most important projects.
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