The Oxford Almanack For the Year of our Lord God MDCCXXXI [Magdalen College]

Method Copper engraving
Artist George Vertue
Published [Oxford, 1731]
Dimensions Image 473 x 450 mm, Sheet 580 x 430 mm
Notes A rare proof impression of the Oxford Almanack for 1731, depicting an aerial view of the planned new buildings of Magdalen College from the west. The New Building, constructed in 1733, was the only part of the plan to be realised. In the foreground, an allegorical female figure, haloed and with face and left arm turned to the skies, rests her right arm on an open book, which in turn rests upon a celestial orb. She is accompanied by another female figure, holding a ribbon adorned with crowns and bishop's mitres, and a group of cherubs. Behind her, two figures look over a low boundary wall. These two are identified by Skelton as the benefactor Sir John Fastolff, and King Henry VII, who inaugurated the singing of the choir from the Tower on May Morn. The calendar that normally appears below the image is incomplete in this proof, containing only partial text: the title, the headings of each month of the calendar, the list of feast days, and the table of monarchs from William the Conqueror to George II. The actual calendar, and the list of university officers is still to be completed.

George Vertue (1684-1756) was an antiquary and engraver. He was born in the parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London. Vertue was apprenticed to a silver engraver and later to the Flemish engraver Michael Vandergucht. His early work includes plates after Kneller, whose academy he attended from 1711. Vertue had a deep interest in antiquarian research, and much of his work was devoted to this subject. He also served as the official engraver to the Society of Antiquaries (1717-56). From 1713 onwards, Vertue dedicated his research to the details of the history of British art, which resulted in an extensive collection of notebooks now in the British Library. The contents of which were the basis of Horace Walpole's 1762 'Anecdotes of Painting'. There are approximately five hundred portraits attributed to Vertue, and an equivalent number of published plates which were devoted to antiquarian subjects.

Condition: Proof impression with partial lettering. Trimmed to borders of image and laid to album page. Vertical fold to right side of sheet. Printed text title 'Sir John Fastolff' from Skelton's Oxonia Antiqua Restaurata laid to page below almanack.
Framing unmounted
Price £450.00
Stock ID 42656