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O’Neill, (Hugh) (artist)

Six etchings by William Crotch, from sketches by Mr. O’Neill, of the ruins at Christ Church, Oxford. To which is prefixed some account of the fire, and the buildings injured by it.

Oxford, Robert Bliss 1809.

Reference: 2517
Price: £480 [convert currency]

Full Description

Folio. 6+(2)pp, engr plan, 6 etched plates numbered 1-6, also an additional example of plate 4 in an earlier state. Quarter morocco, paper boards. Plates slightly spotted or browned (owing to quality of the paper stock).

An unusual and certainly scarce publication describing a fire which gutted the south-west corner of the principal quadrangle of Christ Church, Oxford, in March 1809, destroying the rooms occupied by the Regius Professor of Hebrew. Its most notable feature is the fine series of soft ground etched plates, from drawings by the young artist Hugh O’Neill (1784-1824), but owing their distinctive character to William Crotch, who was both the cathedral organist and a keen amateur student of etching; O’Neill seems to have made the drawings immediately after the fire, and Crotch’s vivid technique conveys very effectively the dramatically exposed Tudor walling, doors, windows and embrasures. Book collectors may note that it was this fire that gutted the room occupied in the 18th century by that dedicated bibliophile and British Museum benefactor C.M. Cracherode.