76. Oxfordshire

Method Copper engraving
Artist George Bickham
Published [G. Bickham, London, c.1796]
Dimensions Image 235 x 130 mm, Plate 260 x 160 mm, Sheet 320 x 194 mm
Notes A page of descriptive text about the county of Oxfordshire, from George Bickham's 'The British Monarchy or a Chorographical Description of all the Dominions Subject to the King of Great Britain'. The text, in Bickham's characteristic English Round Hand describes the various antiquities and places of interest in the county, including Woodstock Park and Blenheim, Dorchester, Roman mosaics and ruins in Stonesfield and Aldcester near Bicester, the Petrifying waters of Somerton, the Roman 'Consular Way' of Akeman Street, and the Rollright stones, which, despite being neolithic in date, and here described as having been set up by Rollo, the first ruler of Normandy. Beneath this, the seats of the Nobility include Blenheim, Adderbury, Heythrop, Rycot, Ditchley, Sherbourn, Charlbury, Cornbury, Stanton Harcourt, and Caversham. The plate is finished by a finely-engraved elevation of the facade of Blenheim, with a scale of 100 feet below.

Bickham's The British Monarchy was published between 1743 and 1754. The rather unconventional county atlas featured a series of maps which placed the viewer in a fictitious vantage point, often set within a rustic, pastoral setting, whilst looking over each county, with names of various towns and cities noted in the distance. The atlas was begun as a part-work publication with each plate dated when published, but was not offered complete until 1755. The first state of the maps has a date engraved whereas the second edition of 1796 lacks both this date and the text below.

George Bickham the Elder (1683/84 - 1758) was a British writer, draughtsman, ornamental engraver, illustrator and publisher, notably of 'The Universal Penman', issued in 52 parts from 1733 to 1748, a joint work with his son George and with John Bickham (perhaps his father, otherwise a son or brother). It contained examples of calligraphy by 25 writing-masters on 212 folio copperplates. His other famous work was the unusual county atlas, The British Monarchy, which contained 43 topographical maps of England and Wales. His work is often indistinguishable from his son, George Bickham the Younger.

Condition: Minor time toning to edges of sheet.
Framing unmounted
Price £50.00
Stock ID 49929