Picturesque Views on the River Thames
by Samuel Ireland

Battersea Church . . . would merit farther commen­dation if the spire had been otherwise formed; it seems to have been modelled from a candle extinguisher.

Samuel Ireland was obviously fond of the picturesque, and expected readers to share his fondness. Picturesque Views on the River Thames (1792) was followed by Pictur­esque Views on the rivers Medway (1793), Avon—or, at least, “the Upper, or Warwickshire Avon”—(1795), and Wye (1797). All four English rivers were preceded by A Picturesque Tour through Holland, Brabant, and part of France, made in the autumn of 1789. (This would not have been every­one’s choice of an ideal time to visit France, but perhaps he had already booked the tour and couldn’t get a refund.)

Volume I:
from the source of the Thames
to Maidenhead Bridge

Volume II:
from Maidenhead Bridge
to the Nore

Title Page

In this book, as in all of Ireland’s Picturesque Views, the highlight is the full-page engravings. But it is also gratifying to see how many talented women he mentions along the way: sculptor Anne Damer; painter and illustrator Diana Beauclerk; manufacturer Eleanor Coade.

About the Author

Samuel Ireland (1744?–1800) began life as a weaver before turning to engraving and printselling. As an artist, he made a few appearances—mainly landscapes—at the Royal Academy in the 1780s. He was always listed as “An Honorary Exhibitor”, which sounds flattering but isn’t; it means he was not considered a professional artist.

His daughter Jane was a painter of miniatures, with a total of five portraits exhibited at the Royal Academy—without the dismissive “Honorary”—in 1792–93. One of them is identified as “Miss Ireland”, which might be a self-portrait or it might be her sister Anna Maria.

So far so good. But today Samuel is best remembered as the father of William-Henry Ireland, perpetrator of a number of celebrated forgeries in 1794–95. It all came to a head with Vortigern, briefly attributed to Shakespeare.

Gossip: The mother of all three children was Ireland’s putative housekeeper, who went by “Mrs Freeman” although her real name was Anna Maria De Burgh Coppinger. Go figure.

Orthographic Quirks

In no particular order:

I have italicized l. (pounds) wherever it occurs. The original book used non-lining numbers, so there would have been no ambiguity between l (ell) and 1 (one).

Formalities

In the printed book, each volume starts with this sequence: Half-Title; Frontispiece; Title Page; List of Prints; Map. For the ebook I have rearranged them as: Half-Title; Map; List of Prints. The frontispiece and title page—essentially the same for both volumes—are shown below.

This ebook is primarily based on the 1801–02 edition (Volume I, Volume II). This is not far from a reprint of the 1792 first edition; though the two are not line-for-line identical, the page breaks are generally in the same places, and the first edition’s long esses (ſ) are retained. There are also a good number of new typographical errors, suggesting that the typesetter was in a bigger hurry this time around. At one or two points, a footnote provides an update—but not often. Notably, in the second volume he talks about William Hoare, who died in 1792, in the present tense. Whenever he says “the present century” he means the 18th, when the book was originally published; the “last century” is then the 17th.

Except for the maps—one at the beginning of each volume—almost all full-page plates are taken from the 1792 edition (Volume I, Volume II). It is clear from the 1801–02 edition that these plates used to be present, since they left smudges on each facing page. But at some time in the past 200-plus years, someone seems to have stolen them. (University libraries have been known to put up reproachful exhibits deploring the practice, for all the good it does.) In Volume 2, pages 1-2, 17-18 and 145 (146 is blank) were also supplied from the earlier edition.

Query: With all those substitutions, why didn’t I just use the first edition throughout? Answer: I dunno. These things happen.

Illustrations—both full-page plates and smaller line drawings—are shown as close as practicable to their original location. Typographical errors are marked with mouse-hover popups and are listed again at the end of each Section. The word “invisible” means that the letter or punctuation mark is missing, but there is an appropriately sized blank space. “Corrected from 1792 edition” means that I had doubts, so I checked this edition’s reading against the first edition.

frontispiece

PICTURESQUE VIEWS

ON THE

RIVER THAMES,

FROM

ITS SOURCE IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE

TO

THE NORE;

WITH

OBSERVATIONS

ON

THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS and other WORKS OF ART
in its vicinity.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

BY

SAMUEL IRELAND,

Author of A Tour through Holland, Brabant, &c.

PICTURESQUE VIEWS OF

The Rivers Medway, Avon, and Wye;—of Graphic Illustrations of Hogarth, and of Picturesque Views of the Inns of Court, &c. &c.

VOL. I.
VOL. II.

----

LONDON:
Printed by C. Clarke, Northumberland-Court, Strand;

PUBLISHED BY T. EGERTON, WHITEHALL.
MDCCCI.