One of my favorite places in London is featured in this beautiful antique engraving: Somerset House. Today it's home to the celebrated collections of the Courtauld Institute of Art, Gilbert Collection and Hermitage Rooms, but it was formerly a star among government office buildings. New when this picture was created, it had been erected as "a great public building, an object of national splendour" to house the Royal Academy of Arts, the Royal Society, the Society of Antiquaries, the King's Bargemaster and -- above all -- the Navy Board. The Navy needed a showcase to reflect its growing importance in an era when Britain was almost constantly at war.
The side pictured faces the Thames and we glimpse sailing vessels in the river and pedestrians along the quay, as we look toward St. Paul's dome in the distance. Although the boats have changed, modern visitors still see this imposing facade of Somerset House while riding the ferry between Westminster Pier and Tower Hill.
The beautifully detailed image, which at some point was washed with misty colors, was only matted and dated when we found it in England. It's since been custom-framed to a size of 9 by 10 inches. The soft peachy hue of the wood matches the paper color very well. Considering its age, the image is in superlative condition. High magnification is needed to notice faint darkening in a few areas around the illustration. On the reverse, the brown paper has developed one very small tear. Glazing is regular glass, because the non-glare stuff kills colors.
There's no charge for insured U.S. shipping, with an equivalent discount on international delivery, and gift-wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!