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A View in Kew Gardens
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
William Birch (1755-1834) after Wilson
A View in Kew Gardens
Published 1 February 1789
Stipple engraving and etching on medium, slightly textured, cream wove paper
Sheet: 175 x 191 mm. Plate: 156 x 178 mm
Sheet: 6 7/8 x 7 1/2 in. Plate: 6 1/8 x 7 in.
View in parkland with two men in a punt in the centre foreground, putting off from the bank onto a lake, with a Chinese pagoda on the far bank and a low Chinese bridge to the left. There are cattle, two more figures and a man leading a horse on the right.
Acquired 1977
Lettered below the image: A VIEW in KEW GARDENS, [in strengthened letters] | 'Painted by Richard Wilson, RA, and engraved by W. Birch, Enamel Painter. | Publish'd Feby. 1. 1789 by Wm. Birch, Hampstead Heath, & sold by T.Thornton, Southampton Strt. Covt. Garden.'
Kew was later to become a favourite retreat of King George III. In the 19th century it was much enlarged and became the famous Royal Botanic Gardens, open to the public. The exotic variety of classical, Moorish and Chinese temples and buildings which Chambers designed were placed within an enclosed garden with a perimeter walk by the side of the Thames. One of the few remaining and the most distinctive was the Chinese Pagoda, 163 feet high. It was built rapidly in six months and finished in the spring of 1762.
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P109 Kew Gardens: The Pagoda and Palladian Bridge,Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven
The print was included in Birch's Délices de la Grande Bretagne, published in 1791. This grew from the idea of etching plates of a uniform size after topographical paintings by well-known artists of the day and eventually publishing them as a 'beautiful Britain' album. 36 plates were made for this work, of which eight are views of London. The prints were based on the works of leading artists of the day including Wilson, Gainsborough and Reynolds.
Object ID: 41277
Unmounted. Laid down on card with others.