Antique prints of historic London depicting well known scenes, landmarks, famous buildings and views are prized by rare print collectors around the world. The production technique also plays its part with collectors as individuals have differing tastes in the method used to produce such prints in the past. Some like to collect etchings or lithographs, others aquatints. Some prefer hand coloured coloured prints others uncoloured. All these issues are up for consideration when collecting.
This is a view of the hustings in front of St Paul's Church, Covent Garden published in 1808. The throng of the crowds extending to scaffolds and roofs while listening to the candidates during the Westminster Elections. Parades with pennants showing the names of the parishes "St Margaret's Westminster" and "St Martin's in the Fields" can be seen in the foreground. The print was published in Rudolph Ackermann's famous work, the 'Microcosm of London', the figures were drawn by the famous caricaturist Thomas Rowlandson and the architecture by Augustus Pugin.
Above: Covent Garden Market. Dated 1st July 1808 at R. Ackermanns Repository of Arts, 101 Strand. Published by Rudolph Ackermann in "Microcosm of London".
HOW TO IDENTIFY:
Could you tell just by looking at this print that it's an aquatint? if you were able to enlarge the image on your desktop or laptop computer and you have some knowledge of prints you would likely answer "yes". Aquatint achieves gradations of tone through a very fine network, etched to various depths by the action of acid. The network entirely random in its patterning, encloses tiny islands of white. This really identify's this medium. You can see this clearly if you enlarge this image and examine the dark grey clouds immediately above the central rooftop.
You can see more examples of the aquatint method from Ackermanns "Microcosm of London" HERE