Vuë du Canal du Batiment Chinois de la Rotunda & Des Jardins de Ranelagh un Jour de Masquarade - A View of the Canal Chinese Building Rotunde in Ranelagh Gardens with Masquarade
XVIIIth century optical view in original watercolors. Original copper plate engraving on laid paper heightened with watercolor at that time. Circa 1770, depicting a view of the Masquerade at the Ranelagh Gardens in London (England).
During the 18th Century, several renowned establishments in Paris, London (England), Augsburg (Germany) and Bassano (Italy) were specialized in the creation of these optical views. They could be viewed alone or through a zograscope, a wooden foot surmounted by a lens which enlarged the image and accentuated the perspective effect. They could also be placed in optical boxes, the spectator then looked inside the box through the lens. This distraction was greatly appreciated in the 18th Century in the salons of the bourgeoisie and the nobility as in the countryside thanks to the hawkers.
These etchings are nowadays exhibited in museums around the world and extremely appreciated by collectors and decorators for their historical interest and their high decorative value.
Museums & Archives
The Bibliothèque nationale de France owns a copy of this optical view in its collections. For more details on this print please consult the site : Vuë du canal du batiment chinois de la rotunda & des jardins de ranelagh un jour de masquarade - a view of the canal chinese building rotunde in ranelagh gardens with masquarade
Stain in the lower margin
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The Ranelagh Gardens were so called because they occupied the site of Ranelagh House, built in 1688–89 by the Earl of Ranelagh, Treasurer of Chelsea Hospital (1685–1702), immediately adjoining the Hospital. Its actual builder and owner was one Solomon Rieti. Ranelagh House was demolished in 1805.
In 1741, the house and grounds were purchased by a syndicate led by the proprietor of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and Sir Thomas Robinson MP, and the Gardens opened to the public the following year. Ranelagh was considered more fashionable than its older rival Vauxhall Gardens; the entrance charge was two shillings and sixpence.
The centrepiece of Ranelagh was a rococo rotunda, which figured prominently in views of Ranelagh Gardens taken from the river. It had a diameter of 37 metres and was designed by William Jones, a surveyor to the East India Company. The central support housed a chimney and fireplaces for use in winter. From its opening, the Rotunda at Ranelagh Gardens was an important venue for musical concerts. In 1765, the nine-year-old Mozart performed in this showpiece. Canaletto painted the gardens, and painted the interior of the Rotunda twice, for different patrons. The rotunda was closed in 1803 and demolished two years later. The organ was moved to All Saints Church, Evesham.
There was also a Chinese pavilion, which was added in 1750, an ornamental lake and several walks. Ranelagh was a popular venue for romantic assignations.
The Galerie Napoléon is pleased to propose to you this strong water etching printed 251 years ago (around 1770).
As for all the antique prints in our catalogue, this optical view Vuë du Canal du Batiment Chinois de la Rotunda & Des Jardins de Ranelagh un Jour de Masquarade - A View of the Canal Chinese Building Rotunde in Ranelagh Gardens with Masquarade datant de 1770 is dispatched worldwide within 24H in a Secured packaging, accompanied by its certificate of authenticity guaranteeing the name of the artists (draughtsman, engraver, editor), the impression process used (Strong water) and its date (1770).
In order to guarantee a perfect conservation in time, this strong water etching is dispatched, ready to be framed, under museum quality color passepartout (manufactured without acid in the pulp for a neutral pH) on a cream mountboard made from carton bois (also acid free & neutral pH), in a luxurious portfolio.
At the apogee of the mode for optical views, between 1750 and 1790, four European cities specialized in their edition: Paris (France), London (England), Augsburg (Germany) and Bassano (Italy).
Optical views are prized in very different social circles : pleasant recreation in aristocratic salons, the views are admired in beautiful and richly decorated optical boxes which are real works of art. The show was transformed into a real scientific experiment. But the optical views also entertained the people who were in a hurry when a hawker set up a box on a market and began to narrate the extraordinary events that had taken place in a more or less distant and inaccessible country.
There are three categories in the production of optical views.
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