Published by Meisenbach as a photogravure image in 1894 for inclusion in The Graphic on a smaller scale than this original rendering. Brewer took advantage of technological advances and drew his sketches from a hot air balloon. Little is known of him as he eschewed publicity, but he produced panoramas such as this, and was well respected in his field. The V&A museum hold an equivalent drawing of a panorama of London as viewed from the north end of Waterloo bridge.
Between 1869 and 1932 The Graphic was an illustrated newspaper published weekly in London by Illustrated Newspapers Limited. Between 1876 and 1895 The Graphic issued panoramas of the great European cities such as this.
With Magdalen Bridge and Tower in the foreground, this focuses on the Colleges of Oxford. The published version comes with a key that identifies twenty-two Colleges, three Halls and thirty-four other places of interest.
Probably as a result of drawing from a hot air balloon, allowing a view of a landscape denied to early artists like Knyff or Jan Siberechts, the composition is particularly elegant. The entire city is framed by its river, and the High Street draws the viewer’s eye into the centre of the picture.
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