The Society of Antiquaries
The Society of Antiquaries traces its origins to the foundation of the College of Antiquaries in about 1586. At the beginning it was more of a debating society concerned the ‘antiquity’ rather than ‘Antiquities’. However it was dismantled by King James I in 1614 as he took some ‘Mislike’ of the Society and it is not until the beginning of the 18th century, in 1707, that it was ‘refounded’. The aim of the Society this time was the subject of ‘Antiquities’, especially relating to the History of Great Britain
The Society moved premises several times over time, from the Mitre Tavern in Fleet Street, to Robin’s Coffee House in Chancery Lane, Somerset House in 1780 and finally Burlington House, Piccadilly in 1874. The Society was granted a Royal Charter in 1751. Its Library which has acquired material since the 18th century is the most important archaeological research library in the UK.
The drawing and designing of antiquities provided a focus of discussion to the members of the Society but also allowed systematic comparison of objects and preserved records of monuments and buildings under threat. Many members of the Society of Antiquaries were competent draugthsmen and the majority of the engravings they produced were issued in Vetusta Monumenta or Ancient Monuments between 1718 and 1906. Vertue (q.v.) an early member was responsible for most of the engravings until 1756. This print of three aspects of Colchester Castle was published as plate XXXVI in volume one of Vetusta Monumenta. The title-page bears the date 1747, although the earliest plate in the volume was published in 1718.This plate of Colchester castle was published in 1732. The companion plate, no. XXXV is a general view of the castle drawn by I. Whood. There is no information about the identity of the originator of plate XXXVI.
Details on this particular print provided by Adrian James, Assistant Librarian, Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BE