Georg Balthasar Probst.
Customs House, the Tower of London and the Thames.
16.5 x 12.25 inches
The panoramas and views of European cities done by Probst in the second half of the C18th have a charm and intimacy all of their own, so often lacking in other contemporary prints. There is an almost childlike nature to his composition and in this bustling vignette of the London Docks we see a great deal of activity both upon the river and outside the Custom House. The text is in Latin, French, Italian and German leaving us in no doubt that this view was destined for an international market. The colouring (for which people would have paid extra) is crudely but charmingly applied and implies that it is the work of children. The bizarre juxtaposition of reds and greens suggests that the print was intended to be viewed through a lens by means of a zograscope or viewfinder. The mirror writing at the top of the print also confirms that this is an optical view, more commonly known as a Vue d'Optique. The overall impression is immensely pleasing and gives us a fascinating perspective of a particular stretch of the River Thames whose key architectural components remain in place to this day!£650