London: Printed for the Author… and William Faden…, 1792. Item #03717
"Real Views, Accurately taken on the spot by the Author"
Sixty-Five Aquatint Plates with Early Twentieth Century Hand Coloring
ROBERTSON, Archibald. A Topographical Survey of the Great Road from London to Bath and Bristol. With historical and descriptive accounts of the country, towns, villages, and gentlemen's seats on and adjacent to it; Illustrated by perspective views of the most select and picturesque scenery. To which is added a correct map of the country Three Miles on each side of the Road; planned from a Scale of One Inch to a Mile. In two parts. London: Printed for the Author… and William Faden…, 1792.
First edition. Two octavo volumes (9 x 5 5/8 inches; 228 x 143 mm.). (ii, title, verso blank), xvi, 154; (viii), 190, (ii, errata, verso blank) pp. Sixty-five hand colored aquatint plates and eleven maps, ten of which are folding.
Early twentieth century full maroon straight-grain morocco. Covers with blind stamped and wide elaborate gilt borders, spines with five raised bands, decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, gilt board edges and turn-ins, marbled end-papers, all edges gilt.
Some foxing throughout, mainly marginal, otherwise a very nice copy with the plates finely hand-colored.
According to Abbey the book was issued with the aquatints uncolored except for a "few copies… printed on large paper".
We believe that the hand coloring in this copy was done at the time of re-binding, i.e. ca. 1900-1920.
"The prints which serve to illustrate this work, are not ideal but Real Views, accurately taken on the spot by the author for this purpose; and the plates were all engraved by himself: he therefore presumes he may with some degree of confidence, present them to the public as just representations." (Introduction).
Archibald Robertson (1765-1835) was a Scottish born painter who opened an art school and studio in Aberdeen, Scotland following his training in London. Known for his miniature portrait paintings, he was asked to paint George and Martha Washington soon after coming to the United States from Scotland. He also made watercolor landscape paintings and engravings. A Topographical Survey of the Great Road from London to Bath and Bristol was, we believe, his first publication. His book Elements of the Graphic Arts was published in 1802. He came to the United States in 1791 at the invitation of several wealthy individuals to teach art. He was asked to paint the portrait of George and Martha Washington. Alexander Robertson joined his brother in the United States in the autumn of 1792. Together they established the Columbian Academy of Painting in New York on William Street. It was one of the country's first art schools. The Columbian Academy of Art was renamed the Academy of Painting, which continued to be managed by Archibald. Alexander opened his own art school in 1802. Both of the Robertson brothers were active exhibitors and involved in the management of the American Academy of the Fine Arts (AAFA) in New York. Archibald joined in 1817 and was on the board of directors for 15 years. In New York, Archibald made watercolor landscape paintings of the Hudson River Valley and New York City. In 1802 he had the book, Elements of Drawing, of his systematized approach toward drawing for amateur artists. His approach was inspired by William Sawrey Gilpin.
Abbey. Scenery, 24.