"The centre of pleasure and magnificence": Paul and Thomas Sandby's London

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Bonehill, J. (2012)

In this essay John Bonehill examines Six London Views, a set of prints published between late 1766 and early 1768 by Edward Rooker, mainly after designs by Paul and Thomas Sandby. These prints are considered in relation to rival pictorial visions of the city as well as to architectural debates regarding the capital's preservation and modernization—its pasts, presents, and futures. These London views advanced the argument for a more “magnificent” and scenographic cityscape, one indebted to the grand visions of court architects of the past, preeminently Inigo Jones, and more befitting the imperial age ushered in by the victories of the Seven Years' War.
  • References (25)
    25 references, page 1 of 3

    7. Thomas Sandby, “Six Lectures on Architecture,” Royal Institute of British Architects, London, “Lecture the Fourth,” fols. 1, 2; “Lecture the First,” fol. 3.

    8. John Gwynn, London and Westminster Improved (London, 1766), xiv.

    9. Gwynn's publication has attracted a good deal of commentary in recent years, most importantly Miles Ogborn's “Designs on the City: John Gwynn's Plans for Georgian London,” Journal of British Studies 43 (2004): 15-39. Cf. Fordham, British Art and the Seven Years' War, 130-32. to receive scholarly attention; see most recently Evelyn Welch, “Public Magnificence and Private Display: Giovanni Pontano's De Splendore (1498) and the Domestic Arts,” Journal of Design History 15 (2002): 211-21.

    17. Middlesex Journal, September 21, 1769.

    18. James Anderson, The Constitutions of the Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons, ed. and rev. John Entick (London, 1767-76), 17-25. On the bonds between speculative freemasonry and the royal family at this moment, see John Money, “Freemasonry and the Fabric of Loyalism in Hanoverian England,” in The Transformation of Political Culture: England and Germany in the Late Eighteenth Century, ed. Eckhart Helluth (Oxford, 1990), 235-74.

    19. Anderson, Constitutions, 126, 127.

    20. Ibid., 173. Unsurprisingly, this history did lend itself to parody; see Charles Dibdin, Songs, Duettos, Glees, Catches, & c., with an explanation of the procession in the pantomime of Harlequin Freemason, as performed at the Theatre-Royal, in Covent Garden (London, 1781).

    21. Nicholas Hawksmoor, Remarks on the Founding and Carrying on the Buildings of the Royal Hospital at Greenwich (London, 1728). On the architect's freemasonic connections, see Vaughan Hart, Nicholas Hawksmoor: Rebuilding Ancient Wonders (New Haven, Conn., and London, 2002), 96-101.

    22. In correspondence relating to the commission, Sandby, despite having been named Grand Architect of the Order of Freemasons, confessed to being little acquainted with the finer points of the craft; Thomas Sandby to William White, January 5, 1786, Freemason's Hall, London, GBR 1991 FMH HC 10/B/5a-b.

    23. George Smith, The Use and Abuse of Free-masonry (London, 1783), 88.

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