J Black (early 19th century) after Frederick Mackenzie (1788 – 1854)

The Choir, Westminster Abbey (1812)


Hand-coloured aquatint

28 x 19 cm

Published by Rudolph Ackermann (1764 – 1834).

An engraving of the vast and soaring interior of Westminster Abbey. Mackenzie’s drawing was engraved by Black and published by Ackermann in his 1812 “History of Westminster Abbey”.

The Abbey is an historic, mainly Gothic church in the City of Westminster, London, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the United Kingdom’s most notable religious buildings and since Edward the Confessor, a burial site for English and, later, British monarchs. Since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, all coronations of English and British monarchs have occurred in Westminster Abbey. Sixteen royal weddings have occurred at the abbey since 1100.

According to a tradition first reported circa 1080, a church was founded at the site (then known as Thorney Island) in the seventh century, in the time of Mellitus, Bishop of London. Construction of the present church began in 1245 on the orders of Henry III.

Frederick Mackenzie (1788 – 1854) was a British watercolourist and architectural draughtsman. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1804, and contributed eleven drawings between that year and 1828. He contributed to the Society of Painters in Water Colours exhibitions from 1813, becoming an associate in 1822, and a full member the following year. From 30 November 1831 till his death he was treasurer to the society. In later life Mackenzie was no longer commissioned to illustrate books.

Rudolph Ackermann was an Anglo-German bookseller, inventor, lithographer, publisher and businessman. In 1795 he established a print-shop and drawing-school at 96 Strand. Here Ackermann set up a lithographic press and began a trade in prints. He later began to manufacture colours and thick carton paper for landscape and miniature painters. Within three years the premises had become too small and he moved to 101 Strand, in his own words “four doors nearer to Somerset House”, the seat of the Royal Academy of Arts. Between 1797 and 1800 Ackermann rapidly developed his print and book publishing business, encompassing many different genres including topography, caricature, portraits, transparencies and decorative prints.

Condition: good. Some age toning.

If you’d like to know more, please email info@manningfineart.co.uk or call us on 07929 749056.