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The British Library holds Samuel Buck’s earliest surviving work, a sketchbook of his home county, Yorkshire, which he used on a series of tours between 1719 and 1720. These rough pen and ink sketches of country houses and town prospects were commissioned by John Warburton (1682-1759), a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. Warburton was at the time writing a new history of Yorkshire, for which he needed illustrations. In the event, Warburton’s county history proved over ambitious and came to nothing, but Buck was able to use his sketches in later enterprises. One such initiative was Buck’s Antiquities; or Venerable remains of above 400 Castles, Monasteries, Palaces, etc, in England and Wales: a series of engravings produced the Buck brothers over 22 years (1720-42).
This sketchbook is an invaluable record of the hey-day of British antiquarian touring and of buildings lost to time. It was acquired within a collection of Warburton’s Yorkshire materials by William Petty, 1st Marquis Lansdowne (1737-1805). The British Museum (later British Library) purchased Lansdowne’s collection of manuscripts in 1807.
Alice Rylance-Watson provides an overview of the work of brothers Samuel and Nathaniel Buck: two topographers whose prints popularised prospects of Britain in the 18th century.
Andrew Kennedy explores how brothers Samuel and Nathaniel Buck, the leading topographical print-makers of the 18th century, pictured Britain's historical relics as well as its contemporary, rapidly modernising towns and cities.