Saturday, 10 August 2013

a broadside panegyric

Peake, Robert (active 1635-died 1667) Robert (later Sir Robert) Peake was son of the print publisher William Peake. In 1635 he and William jointly published The Booke of five Columnes at their house near Holborn Conduit. On William's death in 1639 (Edmonds, Burlington Magazine, 118 (1976), p. 79), Robert inherited and continued the business. He published the finest prints of the early 1640s: sixteen early Faithorne plates, as well as one by Glover (Hind III 233.22), Edward Pierce's set of friezes of 1640, Hollar's set of three-quarter-length Seasons of 1641 (Pennington 610-3), and several portraits of personalities in the Civil War, many as small ovals that were probably used as badges of allegiance. In a letter to Pepys of 26 September 1690, Evelyn stated that the man 'who had the most choice' of prints was Mr Peake of Holborn Conduit (H.C. Levis, Extracts from the Diaries and Correspondence of J. Evelyn and S. Pepys relating to Engraving (1915), p. 84). Peake was associated with Archbishop Laud in the production of a set of small plates designed to illustrate Bibles (see G.Henderson, 'Bible illustration in the age of Laud', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, 8 (1982), pp. 178ff.). In 1642 Peake closed his business in order to join the Royalist army. He arrived at Basing House as Lieutenant-Colonel on 31 July 1643 with William Faithorne serving as his ensign. As a soldier Robert had a glittering career, which culminated in his being knighted by Charles I at Oxford on 27 March 1645 (Vertue I p. 71 from Symonds ms). In October he was taken prisoner at the siege of Basing House, and a box of unspecified copper plates was found among his possessions. He was first imprisoned at Winchester House, then in Aldersgate, and was later exiled for refusing to take the oath of allegiance to Cromwell. He returned to England at an unknown time, and became vice-president and leader of the Honourable Artillery Company. He died in 1667, and was buried in St Sepulchre's. His will (Edmonds p. 133) shows that he had wished to spend the vast sum of £500 on his funeral, but that the Great Fire had consumed his 'houses and tenements at Holborn Conduitt' so that he had to reduce the sum to £200. His fame was such that a broadside panegyric was published on his death (BL 82 l.8(27)).

Peake, William (fl. 1626-died 1639) All previous writings on the Peake family have been made obsolete by Mary Edmond, who has worked out the family tree ('Limners and Picturemakers', Walpole Society, 47 (1978-80), pp. 129-33). She shows that there were three generations of the family in the publishing business. The eldest was the well-known painter Robert Peake (c.1551-1619), who held the position of Serjeant-Painter to James I jointly with John de Critz, and was also painter to Prince Henry. It was he who leased a house at Holborn Conduit from the Saddlers' Company, whence he published a number of books, such as the 1611 translation of Serlio's First Book of Architecture, which he dedicated to Prince Henry (Harris cat.817). The blocks used to illustrate this were imported from the Continent where they had first been used in Antwerp c.1540. William was his eldest son, and was also trained as a painter. Like all generations of the family he was a freeman of the Goldsmiths' Company. On his father's death in 1619 he inherited the shop at Holborn Conduit next to the Sun Tavern at the bottom of Snow Hill. Although he presumably took over his father's illustrated book publishing business, there are no signs of his acting as a publisher of single sheet prints before 1626. His address appears on a large number of ex-Humble plates. One of them (Hind II 265.45) has a date 1626 which suggests that the transfer took place in this year. In 1635 the engraver William Faithorne was apprenticed to him, and at an unknown earlier date the painter William Dobson. William published various sets of Senses, Complexions, Worthies etc. by Cecill and Glover. 

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