I posted a few months ago about color-plate books in Special Collections, and just recently I discovered that we have one of the most famous of all color plate books. The Microcosm of London, or, London in Miniature, was published in 1808-1810 by Rudolph Ackermann, one of the most important publishers of color-plate books. The illustrations are by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Charles Pugin, two major artists of the period; Pugin did much of the architectural detail and Rowlandson contributed the figures. The Microcosm is a three volume work which measures 11″x14″. Each section of the book contains a description of a location, such as St. Luke’s Hospital, the Stamp Office, Covent Garden, Westminster Abbey, etc. as well as at least one illustration for each location. Some of these illustrations and descriptions are of great historical interest, as the buildings no longer exist. The Microcosm presents an unrivalled picture of early 19th century London full of fascinating detail.
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