William IIIs Folly
By WERNER, F[riederich] B[ernard] , 1781


British Isles London
  • Author: WERNER, F[riederich] B[ernard]
  • Publication place: [Augsburg]
  • Publisher: George Balthasar Probst
  • Publication date: after 1781
  • Physical description: Copper engraving, printed on two sheets, joined.
  • Dimensions: Image: 368 by 1130mm (14.5 by 44.5 inches). Sheet: 392 by 1180mm (15.5 by 26.5 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 12516


An impressive post-Fire view of London, showing the city as viewed from the south from Somerset House to the Tower. At top left and top right are compartments containing 70 references in German, English, and Latin. Reference 43 in the key is to St Clement Danes with Gibb’s tower, however, reference 4 is to the same church with its pre-Gibb’s tower. The Folly is shown moored off Bankside. The Folly was a barge erected in the reign William III for “musical entertainment”. Reference 49 is to ‘The Schips building Platz’, resulting surely from a misunderstanding. The Custom House is Wren’s (burnt 1718), not Ripley’s that replaced it.

Georg Balthasar Probst was a German artist, engraver and publisher in Augsburg. Probst came from an extended family of printers, whose businesses can all be traced back to the publishing firm of Jeremias Wolff (1663-1724). After Wolff ‘s death his firm was continued as “Wolff ‘s Heirs” (Hœres Jer. Wolffii) by his son-in-law Johann Balthasar Probst (1689-1750).

After Probst’s death in 1750, his descendants divided the business and published under their own imprints: Johann Friedrich Probst (1721-1781), Georg Balthasar Probst (1732-1801) and Johann Michael Probst. Another part of the Wolff-Probst firm was acquired by the Augsburg publisher Johann Georg Hertel (1700-1775), whose son Georg Leopold Hertel had married a sister of the Probsts. In the next generation, Georg Matthäus Probst (d. 1788), son of Georg Balthasar Probst, also became an engraver of portraits and views.

The third state as identified by Ralph Hyde. The first state has the imprint, “Ioh. Fried. Probst, Hoeres Ier: Wolffy excud. Aug[sburg] Vind.” (cf. BM), the second, “Georg Balthasar Probst Hoeres Ier: Wolffy excud.”, with the privilige “‘Cum Gratia et Privilegio Sac: Caes : Majestatis.”