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General View of Bath

This is the view that would have greeted Austen’s travellers as they approached Bath. It’s one of a series of coloured aquatints engraved from drawings made in the summer of 1792 by Julius Caesar Ibbetson, John Laporte and John Hassell. The views were published the following year under the title, ‘A Picturesque Guide to Bath, Bristol, Hot-Wells, the River Avon, and the Adjacent Country’.

All three contributors were accomplished artists. The imperially named Julius Caesar Ibbetson was born in Yorkshire in 1759 and became well known as a painter in oils of animals in rural settings.

John Hassel was noted for his watercolour landscapes. Watercolour painting became a popular hobby around the turn of the 19th century and was seen as a suitable accomplishment for well-to-do young men and women. Hassell was one of several artists who produced tutorials for amateur painters, offering step-by-step instructions on figure drawing and landscape painting.

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