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Thomas Smith of Derby - 18th Century Engraving, A Prospect On The River Manyfold

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An accomplished engraving showing an expansive view of The River Manyfold at Wetton-Mill with cattle and figures under a shafting sunlight from a clouded sky above. The original drawing was done by Thomas Smith (?-1767) and the engraving was made by Gerard Jean-Baptiste Scotin (1698-1755). The engraving has bee hand coloured. The plate has been inscribed with the artist, engraver, title and date of publication.

The print has been presented in a card mount and a glazed, textured black frame with a brushed gilt effect.

Signed in plate. On wove.


The condition is typical for a picture of this age including some discolouration. There is a four way crease across the paper and light foxing.


38 x 53.5cm (15" x 21.1")
Framed Size: 53 x 68cm (20.9" x 26.8")

Collection Information

The rugged scenery of the Peak District was already attracting tourists by the late 1730s and it was probably for their benefit that Smith employs numerous motifs from the landscapes of the 17th-century Italian painter Salvador Rosa in this series, albeit with the significant substitution of fashionable sightseers in place of banditti and wild-eyed hermits. Smith gauged his market well and by 1751 had published a total of fifty large prints of English natural scenery, parks and ruins. However he was always careful to maintain a topographical or antiquarian focus to his subjects, and not to depend solely on the aesthetic appeal of his manner of depicting them.

Artist Biography

A minor artist of whom little is known, Thomas Smith 'of Derby' is nonetheless a pivotal figure in the genesis of the English picturesque. His series of 'Eight of the most extraordinary Natural Prospects in the Mountainous Part of Derbyshire and Staffordshire, commonly called the Peak' are the earliest prints to depict features of the English countryside as pure landscape in its own right.

At the end of his career, Smith retired to Northamptonshire, where he died on 17 January 1742 at age 90. He was buried in the churchyard of St Peter's, Northampton church, where there was a tablet to his memory and that of his wife Sarah, who died in 1717.


Ashbourne Green, Ashbourne, Staffordshire, England, United Kingdom, DE6 2AG

More Information
Code px014
Artist Thomas Smith of Derby
Date 18th Century
Dimensions 38 x 53.5cm
Medium Engraving
Style Realism
Subject Landscape
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