Bennett after Stephanoff. The Saloon, Buckingham House. 250 x 315 mm.
Original hand-coloured aquatint for W.H. Pyne's The History of the Royal Residences. London: W.H. Pyne, 1816-19.
William Henry Pyne (1769-1843) began his career as a landscape painter, but in 1805 he was commissioned to both illustrate and write ‘The Costume of Great Britain’, which drew him to the attention of publisher Rudolph Ackermann. After writing the text for Ackermann’s ‘Microcosm of London’ (1808-11), in 1816 Pyne branched out into publishing himself, and having obtained permission from the Royal family and Household, began work on ‘The History of the Royal Residences’. Employing the same artists who worked for Ackermann, including Thomas Sutherland, W. J. Bennett, R. Reeve, Daniel Havell, Francis Stephanoff and Richard Cattermole. Pyne also utilised the same format as Ackermann had developed for his earlier work. The use of aquatint with engraving enabled Pyne to depict texture as well as line, and hand-colouring completed the picture by adding in many exquisite details (such as the paintings on the walls). These richly-coloured, lavish plates are not only beautiful, but they provide a view of the Royal houses as they were before their later nineteenth century alterations, or, in the case of Carlton House, demolished altogether.