Late Paul Whitehead's, Twickenham Common

Description

This view of the house formerly belonging to Paul Whitehead, poet, satirist and secretary of the notorious Order of the Knights of St Francis – a bawdy ‘Hellfire club’ founded by Sir Francis Dashwood in 1746 – is one of four views of gentlemen’s houses by Spyers that were aquatinted and published by Francis Jukes. The copies in the King’s Topographical Collection each take the form of an oval vignette, although other impressions, such as those at the London Metropolitan Archives, do not take this form. Spyers’ topographical honesty is in evidence again in the form of the two tall trees that obscure the façade of the house.

Two of the related prints show Alpha House and Brinsworth House on Twickenham Common, which was then a public amenity with a large fish pond, rendered by Spyers in a grayscale, pen and wash drawing that is also in the King’s Topographical Collection at the British Library (Maps K.Top.124 Supp.fol.39). The fourth print is of the house of John Robinson, a politician, which became a mental hospital before it was demolished in 1978. None of the other houses is still standing.

Full title:
Late Paul Whitehead's, Twickenham Common
Published:
1786, London
Publisher:  
Francis Jukes
Format:
Aquatint / Etching / Hand-Colouring / View
Creator:
John Spyers
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Maps K.Top.30.19.bb.

Full catalogue details

Related articles

John Spyers, topographical artist

Article by:
Tom Drysdale
Themes:
Town and city, Country

John Spyers is best known for his association with the landscape gardener 'Capability' Brown, but his independent role as a topographical artist has received little attention, as Tom Drysdale explains.