The idea for writing a book on the Basire family of copper-plate engravers arose from an inheritance. My grandfather bequeathed to me the personal artefacts, including engravings, sketch books and travelogues of James Basire (IV) (1822-1883). He had in turn inherited these from his great aunt, Mary Annie Basire, first wife of this James Basire.
On inheriting these objects, I was unable to find out much about them, so decided to research the topic myself. This book is a result of this research. It is not intended to be a family history. It is rather an academic history of copper-plate engraving and, latterly, lithography, in London from the 1720s to the 1860s. It is told through the story of the Basire family because of the unique continuity of their family business through five generations, and their high profile as engravers at various times to the House of Commons, Oxford University Press, the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries of London.
The e-book version is downloadable free of charge. Links to unpublished resources can be found below.