By: Joseph Smith
Date: 1724 (published) London
Dimensions: 20.25 x 34.50 inches (51.5 x 87.6 cm)
This is a most impressive and rare print of the London Bridge as it was in the beginning of the 18th century. The print features two views; one from the west side and the other from the east. The bridge spans across an active River Thames with numerous ships of varying size and importance, from British Naval Galleons to small schooners and row boats going about their business of the day. The bridge itself is filled with structures, many of the residences with several business scattered throughout.
It came from a monumental four volume set of views of country seats, palaces, and city views originally conceived by Johannes Kip and Leonard Kynff. In 1707, Kip & Kynff issued an 80-plate volume entitled "Britannia Illustrata." This was expanded beginning the next year and the title given in French, "Nouveau Theatre de la Grande Bretagne".
A third volume was added in 1716, and then publisher, Joseph Smith, issued the fourth volume, together with the first three, in 1824. this print from Volume Four shows both sides of the London Bridge, with "An historical description of the great and admirable bridge," given below the two images.
About London Bridge
London Bridge was the first stone bridge built across the River Thames at London, between 1176 and 1209. The road across was lined on both sides by buildings housing shops, offices and homes. It was this bridge that lives on in legend and song 'london Bridge is Falling Down," which originates from an 11th century siege of London by the Viking leader Olaf Haraldsson where they used the added strength of the tides to pull down the first bridge that stood in place of this one.
Coincidentally, this print was published just one year before a fire that destroyed all the houses south of the stone gate. In total, the "old" London Bridge depicted in this remarkable print lasted for over 600 years, until it was replaced by the new London Bridge in 1831.
Condition: This antique map is in A condition with some repaired tears in margins. Overall, it's in fine condition and impression.
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