|Artist||Samuel Middiman and John Pye after J.M.W. Turner|
|Published||Published March 14, 1812 by James Wyatt Carver and Guilder, High Street Oxford as the Act Directs.|
|Dimensions||Image 405 x 605 mm, Sheet 540 x 682 mm|
Inscription: lettered below image with title, dedication to Parsons by the publisher and production line: 'This plate engraved by S. Middiman and John Pye from the original picture by J.M.W.Turner Esqr. R.A. and Professor of Perspective to the Royal Academy.' Depiction of heraldry, with additional production detail: 'The figures Engraved by Charles Heath.'
J.M.W. Turner's seminal view of Oxford High Street depicts the cobbled road looking towards Carfax Tower. To the south, a scholar in cap and gown descends some steps towards a group of people gathering up goods on the pavement. Behind the spilt fruit of the hamper, labourers scale a ladder and dismantle the roof of Deep Hall. All of this occurs under the shadow of University College, deeply cast onto the famous cobblestones. In contrast, the north side of the road is bathed in sunshine. More students in academic dress feature. High above their heads, linear shafts of light fall upon All Saints Church and the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. The straight beams are beautifully counterpoised by the whirling of cloud.
John Pye (1782-1874) was a British printmaker, writer and publisher. Born in Birmingham, Pye relocated to London in 1801 where he took residence in Cirencester Place. As an illustrator for popular art annuals, he executed plates for landscapes by J. M. W. Turner, Claude Lorrain, and Gaspard Poussin amongst others. Preceding his Oxfordian views, Pye collaborated with Turner on James Hakewill's Italy as well as the History of Richmondshire. Pye grew more literary in his later years and in addition to his strong advocacy for the inclusion of engravers in the Royal Academy, he published a work entitled the Patronage of British Art.
Samuel Middiman (1750-1831) was a specialist landscape etcher. He lived in Paddington, shared a close connection with Jonathan Boydell, and engraved several works for the Shakespeare Gallery. His best known work, aside from Turner's High Street, was a folio entitled Select Views in Great Britain in which he reproduced the designs of Francis Wheatley and Samuel Ireland amongst others.
Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 - 1851) was a painter and draughtsman who became one of the most celebrated artists Britain would ever produce. He was born near Covent Garden, London, and entered the Royal Academy Schools in December of 1789. The Academy, conscious of his prodigious talent, encouraged and supported Turner. He was elected as an Associate of the RA in 1799, and became a full Academician in 1802. His early oil painting flitted between Netherlandish works in the manner of Cuyp, Ruisdael and Van de Velde, classical landscapes like those of Claude and Richard Wilson, and, upon returning from his Parisian visit in 1802, grand historical compositions like those of Poussin and Titian. The development of his idiosyncratic style, commonly held to have been around 1803, led to critical condemnation. His preoccupation with light and colour produced abstract, near vorticistic works, which predated Impressionism, but were hugely controversial in the conformist context of late Georgian and early Victorian England. Whilst some critics accused Turner of extravagance and exaggeration, John Ruskin virulently thwarted these claims in Modern Painters, and championed the artist's fidelity to nature. Ruskin became the main advocate of a new generation of Turner admirers, usually professional, middle class, or newly wealthy, who embraced his work for its modernity. An enormously prolific artist, Turner bequeathed over three hundred oils and close to twenty thousand drawings and prints to the nation. His style produced many imitators, but no rivals.
Condition: Trimmed to platemark, laid to archival sheet, minor tears to edges of sheet, 'J.W.' blindstamp in left corner of inscription space.