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The East Prospect of Birmingham

Engraved view - The East Prospect of Birmingham 1732

Engraved by J Harris from a picture by William Westley and published in 1732.

The cartouche at the bottom centre of the engraving dedicates the print to Thomas and Henry Archer. To the left the text reads: "Birmingham, a market town in the county of Warwick, which by the art and industry of its inhabitants, has for some years past, been render'd famous all over the world, for the rare choice and invention of all sorts of wares and curiousitys, in iron, steel, brass etc: admir'd for their cheapness, as their particular beauty of workmanship. See a further account in the west prospect". To the right are listed seventeen places of interest, which are numbered on the print.

Old Birmingham print - enlarged left detail
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Old Birmingham print - center detail
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Old Birmingham print - right detail
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"This is a general view of Birmingham, and brings to life the plan of 1731 (also by Westley). The River Rea, banked by pleasant undulating meadows, is seen in the foreground of the picture, with the cattle, sheep and horses of the neighbouring farmers grazing there.

Across the river at Deritend the old bridge can be seen, with St. John's Chapel close by. Behind a stretch of well-wooded meadows and fields which in medieval days formed the Park of the Lords of the Manor.

The Manor House and its buildings can be seen with the moat around it still preserved. Closely encircling the church of St. Martin's, whose tall spire makes it easily recognisable, are the homes and workshops of the tanners, smiths, nailers, lorimers and tradesmen of the neighbourhood.

The Tower of the Free Grammar School in New Street rises above the other buildings around, while to the right of it is the newly completed church of St. Philip. Below St. Philip's Church are some gardens which may have been the first allotments, always so popular in Birmingham." From virtualbrum.co.uk

A very wide margined example about 40" x 20", with an engraved image size of 34" x 16", laid on canvas over wooden stretchers. There are two short marginal tears and a 10" tear along the line of the right hand plate mark (see close up photo).

Occasional light staining and a handful of foxing spots, almost all confined to the margins. A clean and very attractive copy of this scarce early view of Birmingham. Currently in a distressed 19th century oak frame, which is not suitable for posting but free for collection.


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