|Britannia Illustrata or Views of Several of the Queens Palaces also of the Principal Seats of the Nobility and Gentry of Great Britain
Artist: Johannes Kip and Leonard Knyff
Date: London, 1719 (1719 was first printing)
Print Type: Copperplate Engraving, Hand Colored After
Size: 13.75” x 17” (image size) with full margins
Johannes Kip (1653-1722) was a draftsman and engraver, who was a native of Amsterdam. He was a pupil of Bestiaen Stopendeal from 1668 to 1670. He worked first in his native Amsterdam before moving to London at the end of the seventeenth century. He did portraits, views, and book illustrations. His most important work was this lovely and informative series of bird's-eye views of English countryseats. Kip originally collaborated on this project with a fellow Dutch artist, Leonard Knyff. Knyff did the drawings and Kip the etchings. But as the project developed, Kip created his own drawings as well as doing the etchings. The earliest dated prints by Kip are from 1672, and numerous printed topographical views and portraits followed. Winning the attention of the court of William of Orange, he etched six plates of William of Orange, his wife, Mary, and attendants in 1686. In 1689, William and Mary were made King and Queen of Great Britain, and Kip followed the court to England. Kip settled in Westminster where he continued his work.
It was a period of restoration, expansion, and reconstruction for the houses of the English nobility, brought about by relative political stability and the subsequent increase in mercantile wealth. Kip's plates record with great fidelity not only the houses but also the parks and gardens that surrounded them. The images of the latter are particularly valuable: It is said his drawings are “precious for showing us the layout of mansions and grounds before the formal garden gave way to the new style of the 'natural garden,' celebrated by Pope and Addison. In the decades to come, most of these places suffered revolutionary changes under the guidance of Kent and 'Capability' Brown."