<p>Robert Bowyer (1758–1834) began his artistic career as a painter of portrait miniatures, and included Lord Nelson among his patrons. In the 1790s he diversified into print publishing, a move which led him into significant financial troubles, largely on account of the ambitious scale of the projects he undertook. Bowyer published many series of engravings after works by artists including Benjamin West and Thomas Daniell. Bowyer’s pattern of combining historical scenes with portraits in the same volume had been established by his edition of David Hume’s <i>History of England</i>, issued between 1793 and 1806. The artist of the original drawings for the plates in this large-format volume of <i>The campaign of Waterloo</i> is not named, but appears to have visited the site in the weeks following the battle. Bowyer acknowledged an obligation to Captain Wildman, an aide-de-camp to the Marquess of Anglesea (the former Earl of Uxbridge, Wellington’s cavalry commander at Waterloo), for the ‘accuracy and fidelity’ of the ‘grand view of the battle’ which forms the centrepiece of the volume. This depicts the commencement of the Allied advance, or ‘grand Charge’, said in the engraving’s title to have taken place at about seven o’clock in the evening of 18 June, although probably closer to eight.</p>
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