Local Views

THE 18th and early 19th centuries were the golden age of topographical prints. The difficulties and dangers of travel abroad during the Napoleonic wars led to extensive travel around Britain replacing the Grand Tour to Italy. This created a fashion for seeking picturesque views in Great Britain.

The earliest image in the collection is Pendennis Castle, drawn and engraved by Samuel and Nathaniel Buck and dated 1734. The oldest image of a domestic building in Falmouth is that of Arwenack House, Falmouth, drawn and engraved by Sparrow in 1786. The collection also includes two engravings of Falmouth after J.M.W. Turner, dated 1816. Another distinguished artist represented was William Daniell (1769-1837) who visited Falmouth, and produced several aquatints of the town on his tour of the coastal towns of Britain in 1825.

Improved printing techniques, the invention of the steel engraving, combined with the development of the lithographic process resulted in the early 19th century becoming the heyday of the topographical print. The skill and craftsmanship of the artists, engravers and lithographers during this period may never be surpassed.