Antique copper line engraving of Great Fontmel church in Dorset from the Gentleman’s Magazine published in 1814.

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From ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Chronicle

June 1814 pl.1 p.536

Drawn by T. Rackett : Engraved by Js. Basire

An original copper line engraving from The Gentleman’s Magazine, a monthly publication founded by Edward Cave in London in 1731. The magazine flourished throughout the C18th and C19th and provided news and commentary on many subjects intended for the educated public. The print was based on a drawing by the Rev. Thomas Rackett and engraved by James Basire. Read more about the illustrators of The Gentleman’s Magazine.

The parish church of Fontmell Magna (or Great Fontmel) was built in the C15th and was dedicated to St Andrew. However, only the lower part of the original medieval tower survives as the decayed building was restored in 1862, financed by the Lord of the Manor Sir Richard Plumtre Gly. A letter published in the Gentleman’s Magazine of 1814, remarks on the church’s “curious porch” decorated with a variety of bas reliefs, ornaments and inscriptions, dating to around 1530.

This antique print shows a view of the church from the south-west side including the south porch. Fontmell Down, chalk downland purchased by the National Trust in memory of the Dorset author Thomas Hardy, is the distinctive hill pictured on the right behind the church. The pretty village of Fontemell Magna sits on a stream that springs from the Down. Local legend says that the church’s six bells were originally hung in Shaftesbury Abbey and were buried to evade Henry VIII’s bailiffs, but the site was soon forgotten. They were later ‘rediscovered’ by a ploughman in 1800.

This antique print is in a very good clean condition with a slight age mark in the top right corner and a gentle fold mark through the centre from the original publication layout. It is available mounted in an ivory conservation quality mount and framed with a dark walnut and gold wood frame with acrylic glazing. Price – £40.00.

Approximate dimensions are:

Mount window: 156 x 140 mm

Frame overall size: 310 x 255 mm

Additional information

Weight 0.5 kg