John BRITTON

1771—1857

Originally a publican by trade, it was not until 1801 that he showed an interest in topography and began producing books in partnership with Edward Brayley. Their first publication was entitled The Beauties of Wiltshire, and was the first in a long line of topographical publications, including Devonshire and Cornwall Illustrated (1832).

Britton appeared to lose interest in the 'beauties' series after seven volumes. He was succeeded by J C Smith (1778 - 1810), another topographical draughtsman, and Britton continued to supply illustrations for the guides produced.  A self-made editor he called the artists that he gathered together 'scientific artists'. He later finished an enormous biography that was completed and released seven years before he died at the age of 86.