41 Beak Street, Soho, London, W1

From the website of English Heritage:

“Plaque erected in 1925 by London County Council: Antonio CANAL CALLED CANALETTO (1697-1768) Venetian Painter Lived here

The Venetian painter Antonio Canal, known as Canaletto, lodged at 41 Beak Street in Soho for nine years in the mid-18th century.

Born in Venice, the son of a painter, Canaletto made his name with the views he painted of his native city from about 1725. Many of these were commissioned by English aristocrats making the Grand Tour, and his principal patron was Joseph Smith, the British Consul in Venice. Canaletto reached his artistic peak in the 1730s, but the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–8) restricted travel to Venice and created a temporary hiatus in his career.

As his English patrons could not come to him, Canaletto decided to go to them, arriving in London in May 1746. The artist stayed in the capital for about nine years, returning briefly to Italy in 1750–1. During his time in England, Canaletto painted about 50 views, initially of the Thames and later of country houses such as Syon House in Middlesex and Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.

In order to increase his sales, he used his London address – then known as 16 Silver Street and owned by a cabinetmaker – for exhibiting his work. The show held here in summer 1749 included his View of St James’s Park, and a second exhibition was staged at the property in summer 1751.

Number 41 is typical of the houses built in Soho in the 1680s, though it has been altered in succeeding centuries. The high-glaze plaque, with its distinctive coloured wreath, is one of the series made by Doulton, and dates from 1925.”

A series of seven London County Council plaques were produced in 1925–6 in the ‘Della Robbia’ style, featuring a colourful raised wreath border. Five plaques of this type, manufactured by Doulton, survive, including that mentioned above.

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