|Published||I. Basire sculp. [London, c.1760]|
|Dimensions||180 x 295 mm|
A unusual map of ancient Rome, showing the city in its early history, from George Sale's 'An Universal History, from the Earliest Account of Time to the Present'. The plate depicts the main monuments and streets of the city from the time of King Servius Tullius, to whom the first city walls were traditionally ascribed, to the sacking of the city by the Gauls in 390 BC. With the exception of a handful of temples, the city is practically restricted to the forum and surrounding hills. The Aventine, Janiculan, and Pincian hills are shown outside the bounds of the city, as in the Campus Martius, though the Janiculan Hill is fortified. The Caelian hill, though not within the walls, is linked to them by a rampart. On either side of the map, a large panel contains a numerical key, while a set of four roundels, one for each corner, contain personifications and emblems of the city.
James Basire (1730 - 1832) was a British engraver, often confused with his son of the same name. In 1745, Basire was apprenticed to the engraver Richard William Seale and afterwards travelled to Italy with the artist and engraver Roger Dalton. By the 1760s he had established a successful engraving practice. In 1755 Basire was appointed engraver to the Society of Antiquaries and after that time documentary or pictorial antiquarian engraving formed the majority of his work. Basire is best remembered for his 1770 engraving of the historical painting The Field of the Cloth of Gold (c.1550-80) that depicts the festivities following the meeting of Henry VIII with the French King Francis I in 1520. This was the largest engraving ever made and took Basire over two years to complete. Between 1761 and 1783, he exhibited his prints at the Free Society of Artists. Both of his sons, James and Richard Woolett, were apprenticed to him, but more notably, so was William Blake.
Condition: Vertical folds as issued. Blank on verso.