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You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Metropolitan improvements; or London in the nineteenth century: displayed in a series of engravings of the new buildings, improvements, &c. by the most eminent artists, from original drawings, taken from the objects themselves expressly for this work, by Mr. Thos. H. Shepherd: comprising the palaces, parks, new churches, bridges, streets, river scenery, public offices and institutions, gentlemen's seats and mansions, and every other object worthy of notice throughout the metropolis and its environs, with historical, topographical, and critical illustrations, by James Elmes, M.R.I.A. architect ...
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SHEPHERD, Thomas Hosmer (1793--1864)
Metropolitan improvements; or London in the nineteenth century: displayed in a series of engravings of the new buildings, improvements, &c. by the most eminent artists, from original drawings, taken from the objects themselves expressly for this work, by Mr. Thos. H. Shepherd: comprising the palaces, parks, new churches, bridges, streets, river scenery, public offices and institutions, gentlemen's seats and mansions, and every other object worthy of notice throughout the metropolis and its environs, with historical, topographical, and critical illustrations, by James Elmes, M.R.I.A. architect ...
London: published by Jones & Co.; and sold by Simpkin and Marshall; and all book and printsellers, 1827.
vi, 171, [2] p., add. steel-engr. t-pl., [80] steel-engr. pl. ; 26.6 cm. (4°)

First issued in 41 numbers in printed wrappers between May 1827 and January 1830, with numbers costing 1s. (2s. for India proofs). As subscribers might start at any point with latecomers purchasing already published numbers in arrears, the letterpress title-page is found with dates between 1827 and 1833 or with no date. From 1828 the Metropolitan improvements were also available in octavo format, with the plates (which in the quarto issue bear two views per plate) guillotined down the middle. Early in the same year Shepherd began work on a second series of London views, London and its environs in the nineteenth century, 1829--[1832] and promoted as a 'Series The First, Comprising The Earlier Edifices, ...', no doubt to encourage its purchasers to acquire the earlier work as well. (The latter work, perhaps surprisingly, is not in Soane's library.) Although earlier books had illustrated Regency London with the new medium of steel-engraving, Shepherd's Metropolitan improvements was by far the most successful example and is better known for the plates with their innovative style of perspective streetscapes and vibrant detail than for James Elmes's text. Elmes praised Soane's Bank of England for its style, described as 'at once masculine, appropriate, and novel', drawing attention in particular to the Tivoli Corner. For a detailed account of the publication history see Bernard Adams, London illustrated (London 1983), no. 154, pp. 369--380; BAL, Early printed books, no. 2996.

Copy Notes Quarto copy with India-paper proofs. With extra title-plate inserted from Shepherd's London and its environs in the nineteenth century, 1829. Bought from James Elmes: pts 1--2 for £1 on 8 January 1828 (Archive 6/23/3); pt. 3 for 10s. on 15 March 1828 (Archive 6/23/3; Envelope 6/42 Books); pt. 4 for 10s. on 19 July 1828 (Archive 6/23/3; Priv. Corr. XVI.E.6.21); pt. 5 for 10s. on 30 October 1828 (Archive 6/23/4; Priv. Corr. XVI.E.6.22); pt. 6 for 10s. on 27 January 1829 (Archive 6/23/4; Envelope 6/64 Books); pt. 7 for 10s. on 3 Oct. 1829 (Archive 6/23/4; Priv. Corr. XVI.E.6.30); pts. 8, 9, 10 for £1 on 1 May 1830 (Archive 6/23/4; Priv. Corr. XVI.E.7.1).

Binding C19th half diced russia, marbled-paper boards, gilt double-ruled spine. Bound by Edwin Hutchinson for 4s., 26 February 1830. (Archive 7/14/29).

Reference Number 2193


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