Metropolitan Improvements: Or, London in the Nineteenth Century
29 Apr 2018
Cambridge University Press
James Elmes (1782-1862), the son of a builder, trained at the Royal Academy Schools as an architectural designer, but his career encompassed publishing and writing on architecture as well. A friend of Benjamin Robert Haydon and his circle, he was the first publisher (in his Annals of Fine Arts) of Keats' most famous odes. He was also the first biographer of Sir Christopher Wren (that book is also reissued in this series), and in this 1827 work he celebrates the architectural developments of the Regency (the book is dedicated to George IV), which he clearly feels are as beautiful and as transformative of the cityscape as were Wren's new buildings after the Great Fire of 1666. The illustrations are by architectural draughtsman Thomas H. Shepherd (1793-1864), and the volume's success led to his producing several more books of views of modern cities, including Edinburgh, Bath and Bristol.