“A prospect of the city of London” copper engraving on two joined sheets made by Johannes Kip (a.k.a. Jan Kip), from “Britannia Illustrata” published in London around 1708 by David Mortier. Size: (platemark) 49 x 119,5 cm.
The print shows the city as seen from a high point on Southwark. It extends from St Clements Church to the Tower of London. The dome of St Paul’s Cathedral (completed in 1708) and the many church towers dominate the skyline; London Bridge links the two shores and many ships travel on the Thames.
The 18th century was a period of rapid growth for London, reflecting an increasing national population, the early stirrings of the Industrial Revolution, and London’s role at the centre of the evolving British Empire. Many tradesmen from different countries came to London to trade goods and merchandise. Also, more immigrants moved to London making the population greater. Altogether making London a bigger and busier city.
Johannes Kip (1653-1722) was a Dutch draughtsman, engraver and print dealer. He briefly apprenticed with the printmaker Bastiaen Stopendaal in Amsterdam before setting up his own business. After producing works for the court of William of Orange, Kip followed William and Mary to London where he conducted a thriving printselling business.
The print is from Britannia Illustrata, also known as “Views of Several of the Queens Palaces and also of the Principal Seats of the Nobility & Gentry of Great Britain”, a large folio volume which is among the most important English topographical publications of the 18th century.