This is a superb example of the 1761 London Magazine edition of the famous Burgis view of New York City, one of the earliest generally acquirable dedicated views of the city. The bustling, nautical view shows the city as viewed from Brooklyn Heights. It illustrates from the battery in the south to the stockade of Wall Street. The East River teems with sailing ships, including three great warships. Fort George, the Exchange, City Hall and a variety of churches can be seen, along with a shipyard. The Long Island terminus of the ferry across the East River is visible in the foreground.
Precursors to this ViewThe view is based on a painting executed by William Burgis around 1718. This view was first published in a large format - more than six feet long, engraved in England by John Harris between 1719 and 1721. (Just three examples of this large view are known to exist.) A restrike of that view was printed in 1746 by Thomas Bakewell, with some alterations to the plates. This, too, is extremely rare with a single example appearing in OCLC.
Publication History and CensusThe present view was engraved by an anonymous hand in 1761 for inclusion in the London Magazine, and is one of two versions of the view to appear in that publication. Of the two, this one - with the title ending in 'North America' - is the more detailed and desirable. We see only one example of this view catalogued in OCLC, at the National Library of Scotland. This, and the other 1761 variant, appear on the market from time to time.
William Burgis (fl 1718 - 1731) was an English-American artist: in papers he was referred to as a draftsman, painter, and (through marriage) an innkeeper; he was also known to be a printer and even an engraver. His early life is not understood. He is thought to have arrived in New York from England about 1718, leaving for Boston in 1722. Neither marriage nor innkeeping seem to have agreed with him: he left Boston, wife, and the historical record in 1731. With the exception of one map, his surviving output appears to have been uniformly landscapes and topographical views. He is best known for his large view of New York, engraved by John Harris in London and published between 1719 and 1721. More by this mapmaker...
Baldwin, R. London Magazine, Or, Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer... , (London) 1761.
Very good. Marginal reinforcements at folds not impacting printed image. Else excellent.