Johannes Kip after Leonard Knyff
The House at Chiswick in the County of Middlesex
19 x 13.5 inches
A copper plate engraving by Kip after Knyff; published in Le Nouveau Theatre de la Grande Bretagne, London 1724.
Chiswick House was, in the early C18th, the home of the Right Honourable Charles Boyle whose many titles included the Earl of Burlington and Gentleman of His Majesty's Bedchamber. This image depicts the early Jacobean house that was demolished in 1758 to make way for the Palladian masterpiece that we know today (built in the late 1720s). The gardens at Chiswick were the first in England to do away with the traditional Dutch formality in favour of a more romantic landscape.
The early eighteenth century in England was dominated by the work of a group of Dutch artists and engravers who came to live and work in London. It was in 1707 that David Mortier offered for sale the first series of large volumes of topographical engravings of English towns, houses and estates initially under the collective name of Britannia Illustrata (1707) and later, from 1715 onwards, Le Nouveau Theatre de la Grande Bretagne. Kip engraved the majority of the plates for this work either after his own designs or after the drawings of his fellow Dutchman, Leonard Knyff. Perhaps most famous and beloved of all are his aerial views of English country houses and estates where each plate depicts a countryseat surrounded by formal gardens and farmland. The work therefore provides an invaluable historical resource and is one of the most comprehensive and decorative topographical studies attempted in the eighteenth century.