Baptised in Danzig in 1634 his parents were English and Scottish. Studying engraving in Danzig with Willem Hondius (1598-1652 or 1658) he moved to London in the late 1650s producing the engraved title-page for the folio 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Marrying in 1663 he moved to Nuffield, Oxfordshire in 1665 to avoid the Plague and was in 1668/9 appointed Public Sculptor to the nearby University of Oxford having been commissioned to produce bird’s-eye views of all the Oxford Colleges. He lived in Holywell Street as he did this. Oxonia illustrata was published in 1675, with the help of Robert White (1645-1704). Following its completion he commenced work on his equivalent work for Cambridge, Cantabrigia Illustrata which was finally published in 1690 when he was made engraver to Cambridge University.
Oxonia illustrata also includes an engraving of Winchester College (sharing its founder – William of Wykeham – with New College) whilst Cantabrigia illustrata includes one of Eton College (which shares its founder – Henry VIII – with King’s College).
Bird’s-eye views required a particular talent as an architectural perspectivist of that era as it was not until 1783 that the first living thing (a sheep, named Montauciel ‘climb to the sky’) was sent aloft by the Mongolfier brothers in a balloon. Loggan thus had to rely on his imagination in conceiving the views.
Loggan’s views constitute the first accurate depictions of the two Universities, in many ways unchanged today. Whilst the Oxford engravings were produced in reasonable numbers and ran to a second edition (on thicker paper and with a plate number in the bottom right-hand corner), those of Cambridge were printed in smaller numbers and no second edition was produced.
The Dutchman Pieter van der Aa published some miniature versions of the engravings for James Beverell’s guidebook to the UK Les Delices de la Grande Bretagne c. 1708.
Edmund Hort New (1871-1931) produced a series of pen-and-ink drawings of views of Oxford that paid homage to Loggan showing the development of the city in the following two hundred years. They were turned into photoengravings by Emery Walker who published the series between . Probably no more than two hundred of each engraving were produced and the plates were destroyed in the blitz.
The contemporary artist Andrew Ingamells (b.1956) has produced a highly-acclaimed series of etchings again bringing Loggan’s vision up to date.