This first ever monthly magazine The Gentleman’s Magazine was published by the printer Edward Cave in 1731, and ran for nearly 200 years until its demise in 1922. It had contributions from poets, antiquarians, clergymen, politicians and topographers and its history pages often contained lively discussions.

The Dorset dialect poet William Barnes contributed several articles about the history and customs of the county and Cave’s friend Samuel Johnson commented on topics for the ‘educated public’.  He entered the term ‘magazine’ from the French word meaning ‘storehouse’ in his Dictionary.

Between the mid-C18th and the early C19th the reading public were developing a new interest in the world around them and this stimulated the booksellers to commission artists, engravers and map makers to illustrate the geographical information. British antiquities and topography provided the subjects for popular illustrations including churches, castles, bridges, lighthouses, gateways and unusual buildings. The Magazine used woodcuts to create small maps and sketches and copperplate engravings for the more detailed images.

St John’s Gate in Clerkenwell, was the entrance portal of the City of London and formed the frontispiece to the Magazine and was actually Cave’s own house and printing works.

Below is a list of the more notable artists and engravers who contributed topographical illustrations to The Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Chronicle in the early years of the C19th. Please take a look at examples of their work for sale in our store:

John Chessell Buckler (1793-1894) was the son of the topographical artist John Buckler, and was an artist and later architect who worked notably on the Oxford Colleges.

Rev. Thomas Rackett (1756-1840) was the Rector of Spetisbury in Dorset and an antiquarian who contributed to Hutchins’ History of Dorset. Rackett lies under a pyramid shaped memorial in Spetisbury churchyard.

John Adey Repton (1775-1860) was an English architect, landscape gardner and antiquarian and was apprenticed to John Nash. He also contributed drawings to Britton’s Cathedral Antiquities. 

Bartholomew Howlett (1767-1827) was a draughtsman and landscape engraver who illustrated topographical and antiquarian works particularly from his home county of Lincolnshire.

James Basire (1730-1802) specialised in architectural prints and was engraver to the Royal Society of Antiquarians. William Blake was apprenticed to him.

John Greig (1800-1853) was a draughtsman, engraver and lithographer who worked with the artists Storer and Stockdale.

View our printshop for prints from the Gentleman’s Magazine.