Copper engraving, drawn and engraved by Ben[jamin] Green. Uncoloured. Published as Plate 126 of Maitland's 'History of London, A New Edition, 1775'.
Plate size: 9 1/4 x 15 3/4 inches - 235 x 400mm. plus borders: 10 x 16 3/8 inches - 255 x 417mm approx.
Generally good condition throughout.
A view of the elegant neo-classicist houses and vaulted warehouses known as the Adelphi. Designed by the Adams brothers around 1768 next to the Thames on what had been an unfashionable, run-down stretch of ground known as Durham Yard. The architect's principal inspiration was the ruined palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian at Spalato (modern-day Split) in Croatia. It was built by imported Scottish labour who worked to the accompaniment of bagpipe music and furnished in a no expense-spared style - tho its completion was only enabled by the sale of lottery tickets. The Adelphi survived in relatively good condition into the nineteenth century, despite its immediate proximity to the riverfront – a crucial element of its charm – being lost when the Thames was embanked thereabouts in the late 1860s. Then in 1872, heavy Victorian window dressings and a lumpy pediment were added to the façade, disrupting its careful proportions. Also, by then the vaults beneath had become infamous as a haunt of the poor, the homeless and other outcasts of society. In 1927 the Adelphi estate was sold at auction, and in 1936 many of the houses, including the great riverfront terrace and its underground vaults, were torn down and a new Art Deco Adelphi building (designed by Collcutt & Hamp) erected in their place. Today only a few runs of houses remain from the Adam development, including the beautifully proportioned Royal Society of Arts building.