|Artist||James Basire after Cornelis de Bruyn|
|Published||[Printed for T. Osborne, An Universal History, 1747]|
|Dimensions||Image 265 x 685 mm, Plate 277 x 700 mm, Sheet 315 x 735 mm|
A panoramic view of the ruins at Palmyra from Osborne's 'An Universal History, from the Earliest Account of Time'. The plate depicts the principle buildings of the ancient city, including the Temple of Bel, the Baths and Camp of Diocletian, the Colonnade, and various funerary monuments, notably the Valley of Tombs and the Tower of Elahbel. The Palmyrene mountain belt is visible in the distance. A number of the panorama's more significant features are identified and labelled.
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.
Cornelis de Bruyn (1652-1726/7) was a Dutch artist and traveller, born in the Hague. He made two large tours and published illustrated books with his observations of people, buildings, plants and animals. During his first tour, he visited Rome, Egypt, Jerusalem and Cyprus, where he stayed among the Dutch merchants in Smyrna and Constantinople. From 1684 he worked in Venice with the painter Johann Carl Loth, returning in 1693 to The Hague, where he sold his souvenirs. In 1698 he published his book with drawings, which was a success and was translated in several languages. Among his drawings were the first pictures of the interior of the Great Pyramid and Jerusalem that became known in Europe. During his second tour in 1701 he visited the Samoyeds in northern Russia. In Moscow he became acquainted with emperor Peter the Great; de Bruijn painted his nieces, and the paintings were sent to possible candidates for marriage. In late April 1703, De Brujin left Moscow along with the party of an Armenian merchants from Isfahan. De Bruijin and the Armenians sailed down the Moscow River, the Oka and the Volga, eventually reaching Astrakhan. Leaving the borders of the Russian state, de Brujin arrived to Persia, where he made drawings of towns like Isfahan and Persepolis (1704–1705). He continued to Java and returned to Persia, Russia, and ultimately the Netherlands. His drawings of Persepolis, a city destroyed by Alexander the Great, caused a sensation. They were the best prints available to western scholars. De Bruyn's second book, Reizen over Moskovie was not such a success, as he was accused of plagiarism. De Bruyn died in Utrecht. It is not known when and where he was buried.
Condition: Pressed vertical folds as issued, filled area of loss to right hand margin, minor foxing to sheet.