This is one of 69 plates published in Daniel King’s The Cathedrall and Conventuall Churches of England and Wales (1656). Many were included in Harley MS 2073 together with their title-page probably by Randle Holme the younger, to whom King was apprenticed. Eight etchings were produced by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677), who also supplied coats of arms and dedications for some of King’s plates. A number of them, including this view of Finchale Priory in Durham, had already appeared in the Monasticon Anglicanum (1655) by the antiquary Sir William Dugdale (1605-1686), with whom both King and Hollar were associated. King’s abilities as an etcher have never been rated very highly and his treatment of the remains of the Gothic church, its ancillary buildings and the landscape in the background of this view suggest similar limitations as a draughtsman. His depiction of the ruined Priory, suppressed in 1538, shows the building as it was in the mid-17th century, with most roofs gone and vegetation creeping up the crumbling walls, ‘sheltered to the north by the lofty rocks and hanging woods of Cocken, and on every other side by steep hills’.
See William Hutchinson, The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham, vol. 2 (Durham: G. Walker, 1823), p. 410.