[New River Scenery and Its Vicinity].
- London: No.10, Howland-Street, Jan.1, 1793.
Oblong folio, [285 x 390 mm] engraved dedication, and 8 hand coloured engraved aquatints; uncut in original blue wrapper, the upper cover with printed paper label ‘New River, Scenery, No. 1.’ A fine copy of this rare, eighteenth century aquatint work. The New River is an artificial waterway that was opened in 1613 to supply London with fresh drinking water taken from the River Lea and from Chadwell Springs and Amwell Springs and other springs and wells along its course. Francis Jukes, (1745-1812) the supplier of aquatints to the work, first specialised as a topographical painter, probably in watercolours but more importantly he was one of the first English artists to exploit the newIy discovered method of aquatint engraving. His topographical views include some important early records of colonial settlements. His large oval aquatints of Cape Town (1794) after Alexander Callender art among the finest early views of South Africa, and he also produced prints of Now York (1800) and Sidney Cove, New South Wales (1804). It is interesting that ht worked on some of the plates that resulted from Captain Cooks Voyages for R.M. Batty is also known to have essayed painting on the death of Cook at the Royal Academy. Of Batty nothing is known although it is very likely be Robert Batty (1763-1841) a doctor but also an amateur artist who passed his interest to his son. Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Batty (1789-1848). This views are taken from the most rural part of the New River's course before ending at Sadler’s Wells. The work was probably supported by the dedication to Lord Romney (1712-1793). Being President of the Society for Encouragement of Arts, he was well known for his philanthropy and encouragement of various projects so his death may have been the reason the work was not carried forward. Odd prints from the set are held at the British Library but we have been unable to locate any copy coming up for sale, .either through auction, bookseller or printseller, or of it ever being referred to in any standard reference work. The only information on the work ever having been published occurs in the original advertisement in 'The Times' of January 1793 where it confirms that the work contains "Eight Prints on quarto imperial paper ... price 15s each number plain, and 30s printed in colours”.
Coloured plates in order:
1. Hertford Castle.
2. Hertford Church.
3. The New River head - with part of the Town of Ware.
4. Wart Priory.
5. Ware Church.
6. Amwell End
7. Looking towards Amwell-Bury Woods.
8. From Amwell Bury Woods. This views are taken from the most rural part of the New River's course before ending at Sadler’s Wells.