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Description: This large original copper-plate engraved antique print by Johannes (Jan) Kip, after Leonard Knyff, was published in the 1724 Joseph Smith edition of Britannia Illustrata or Nouveau Theatre de la Grande Bretagne. This beautifully engraved original antique print is testimony to the fine, detailed work produced by Jan Kip.
Britannia Illustrata was first issued in 1707 by David Mortier as a single volume containing 80 topographical etchings by Johannes Kip, after drawings by Leonard Knyff. Many are birds eye views of country seats, but there are also a number of interesting London views. The series was first reissued and expanded into two volumes in 1708-1713, and provided with a second French title Nouveau Theatre de la Grande Bretagne. An expanded edition of Britannia Illustrata was re-published by Joseph Smith in 1724 under its French title, Nouveau Theatre..., containing many of the plates from the original edition by Mortier and also containing may new plates of places, churches, cathedrals and architecture of the landed gentry.
Background:Durham Cathedral was first built as a shrine to house the uncorrupted body of St. Cuthbert, brought to rest here by his brother monks in the late eleventh century, after their wanderings around the north east. The famous seventh century saint of Lindisfarne had been celebrated by Bede in his writings and it is fitting that this wonderful writer is also buried and commemorated here at Durham, in the dramatic Galilee Chapel.
On the main entrance door of the cathedral hangs a replica of the elaborately cast Sanctuary Knocker, where those seeking escape from the law would come to grasp the handle, gaining time to sort out their affairs. As you enter the dark nave, the shocking boldness of design almost a thousand years old arrests your attention. The nave pillars are deeply carved with geometric grooves, their circumference equal to their height, producing a feel of solidity and permanence. The emphasis at Durham is of mass and weight, a sharp contrast to the later gothic naves of cathedrals such as Winchester or Canterbury, where light and space are the key. Around 1093, the present cathedral was started by Bishop William of St. Carileph and the Benedictine monks. The shrine of St. Cuthbert attracted many pilgrims and a suitably grand structure was required. In the early twelfth century, the Chapter house and the Galilee Chapel were built. The Galilee Chapel is one of my favourite architectural spaces, with its abundance of crisp zigzag carving arched over slim stone pillars. Bede is simply and suitably commemorated by a dark marble grave slab and the mixture of ancient and modern sculpture, stained glass and wall painting crosses and unites centuries of Christian belief and artistic devotion. Back in the nave, there is ample evidence also of the continuum of belief, interrupted and partly destroyed at times, but still very much alive today. Here is the earliest example in Europe of rib vaulting, there is a memorial to the local minors, reflecting poignantly the double-edged sword of industry and its losses. In the south transept is a huge clock, installed at the end of the fifteenth century, when the cathedral was still a priory, whose monks prayed through their daily round of services. At the Reformation, Durham was fortunate to become of the new cathedrals, saved from Henry VIII's destructive power. Between the two transepts, the tower over the crossing dates from around 1490, a replacement for the previous tower which had been destroyed by lightening and fire sixty years before. Despite the discrepancy in age between the main body of the cathedral and the tower, the design is harmonious. Beyond the high alter lies the raised site of the shrine of St. Cuthbert, still a place of quiet power and reverence for this unassuming, gentle man. Separating it from the high altar is the Neville Screen, built between 1372 and 1380 by the influential Neville family. Once adorned with 107 statues, supposedly removed before the iconoclasts of the Reformation could deface them, this structure stands out at Durham for its light, vertical, decorated gothic design. Around a hundred years before, the Chapel of the Nine Altars which encompasses the east end of the cathedral displays an earlier and more restrained gothic. Here the pillars are edged with local black 'Frosterley Marble', filled with fossils. During the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, Durham underwent several 'beautification' schemes, best seen in the organ and choir screen areas. The geometric marble inlaid floor is particularly beautiful.
General Description: Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable Paper colour: - off white Age of map colour: - Colours used: - General colour appearance: - Paper size: - 26 1/2in x 22in (670mm x 560mm) Plate size: - 23in x 18in (585mm x 460mm) Margins: - min 1in (25mm) Imperfections: Margins: - None Plate area: - None Verso: - None