A View of the Stad House and the Engines for extinguishing Fire at Amsterdam
15.5 x 9.5 inches
An etching on copperplate with original hand colour, published in London in 1752.
This wonderful image shows the Amsterdam Fire Brigade hard at work extinguishing a fire at the Town Hall (Stad House). Water is pumped from the canal and forced upwards by means of some sort of pressure pump. The scene is remarkably familiar today in Amsterdam's thriving Dam Square with the town hall now called the Royal Palace and the New Church, dating from the C14th but rebuilt after the 1645 fire, still standing alongside.
These optical views, or perspectives as they were commonly called, originated in the early eighteenth century, initially as part of the London topographical print market, and then from the 1740's onwards they reached new heights of popularity in cities such as Augsburg and Paris. They were typically horizontal in orientation, firmly engraved with lines of perspective and strongly coloured, initially depicting the capital cities of Europe but later embracing more exotic locations from around the world. They continue to provide us with a fascinating record of European cities in the latter half of the eighteenth century and remain as visually appealing as they are historically fascinating.