NEALE, J.P. Views of Seats of Noblemen Gentlemen in England, Scotland Wales and Ireland. Four volumes. London: Published for the Proprietors, by W.H. Reid, 1818-1822.


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With Printed by J. M’Creery, Printer, Black-Horse-Court, London. Contemporary full straight-grained tan morocco. Covers framed by double gilt fillets, border onlay in blue morocco tooled in gilt with an inner gilt roll; spines divided into five panels by thick gilt raised bands, author, title and volume number in gilt on blue morocco labels; board edges and turn-ins gilt; moiré silk endpapers; green. blue and gold triple endbands; gilt gauffered edges. Armorial bookplate R.
Broughton Mainwairing on front pastedowns.
John Preston Neale (1780-1847) was an English architectural and landscape draughtsman. Much of his work was drawn, although he produced the occasional watercolour or oil painting. His drawings were used on a regular basis by engravers. Neale’s Views of Seats, published in 6 volumes between 1819-23, has long proven an invaluable source for architectural history. The Irish views which form a significant part of this ambitious work offered to the public some of the earliest visual records of this country’s great houses as well as introducing many lesser known buildings. “I am much delighted with the beautiful views you have given us of some of the magnificent mansions in Ireland... [these] are perhaps more picturesque that any other mansions we have yet seen... I had no idea that Ireland contained such beautiful seats.” So wrote John Mackie Leslie, a Scottish-born surgeon and a subscriber to Neale’s Views.
The printer and radical, John McCreery (c.1768-1832), was born in Burndunnet, near Strabane, County Tyrone, son of James McCreery, a Strabane printer. In the late 1780s John McCreery left Strabane for Liverpool, where he was apprenticed to George Wood, a leading local printer. He was soon drawn into a prominent group of radical thinkers who avowed sympathy for the ideals of the French revolution and sought to address national and local abuses, including those brought about by the town corporation. The leader of these ‘Liverpool Jacobins’ was the well known William Roscoe, lawyer and abolitionist, who befriended McCreery and persuaded him in 1791 to set up independently as a printer. McCreery used his press to further Roscoe’s aims; among the first published works were Thomas Hall’s Achmet to Selim, or the dying negro (1792) which was dedicated to the Abolition Society, and a volume of poems by Edward Rushton, a blind poet and ex-slaver. The aesthetic Roscoe exerted close control over the design and typography of McCreery’s press, and their collaboration resulted in a number of well produced books. In 1805 McCreery moved to London, setting up office in Black Horse Court, Fleet St. (1805-20) and Took’s Court, Chancery Lane (1820-28), where he was soon part of radical circles. With 324 plates (298 called for).


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