Michael Burghers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Plate 9 from Natural History of Oxfordshire, by Robert Plot, from 1677.

Michael Burghers (b. c.1647/8 – 1727) was a Dutch illustrator and artist of the 17th century, who spent most of his career in England. He was commissioned to create maps, estate plans, and illustrations of stately houses, by the English aristocracy.

Descent into Hell, published in his own Ancient Mysteries Described.


Michael Burghers was a Dutch engraver, who settled in England on the taking of Utrecht by Louis XIV. He lived mostly at Oxford, and on several of his plates he added Academiae Oxon. calcographus after his name.[1]

He was the author of a book, Ancient Mysteries Described, which was reprinted into the early 19th century.

Describing Burghers' style, Joseph Strutt wrote

He worked almost wholly with the graver, in a stiff, tasteless style, without genius, or knowledge of the art of design. His drawing, when he attempted to draw the naked figure is wholly defective. He has, though, painfully preserved many ancient reliques, the originals of which are now lost.[2]

Strutt thought that Burghers' best plates were his copies after Claude Mellan, and his topographical work, much of it for the antiquary Thomas Hearne.[2]

He died on 10 January 1726-7.[3]


From 1676 Burghers engraved the plates for the Almanacks of the University. His most esteemed prints are his antiquities, ruins of abbeys, and other curiosities. He also engraved several portraits and plates for the classics.[1] They include:[4]

Book Illustrations[edit]

François Junius (Michael Burghers, 1698, after Anthony van Dyck)
  • Illustrations to Dr. Plot's Natural History of Oxfordshire. Being an Essay towards the Natural History of England. 1677.[5]
  • Illustrations to Robert Plot's Natural History of Staffordshire. 1686.[5] (pictured)
  • Illustrations to Dr. White Kennet's History of Ambroseden.
  • Illustrations to the fourth edition of Milton's Paradise Lost, published by Jacob Tonson. Burghers engraved eleven of the twelve plates; seven of them after drawings by J.B. de Medina; the drawings for the others may have been by Henry Aldrich.[6]

Other plates[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Bryan 1886
  2. ^ a b c Strutt, Joseph (1786). "Michael Burghers". A Biographical Dictionary Containing All the Engravers, From the Earliest Period of the Art of Engraving to the Present Day. 1. London: Robert Faulder. p. 161. 
  3. ^  Fagan, Louis Alexander (1886). "Burghers, Michael". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 7. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  4. ^ From Bryan 1886–9 unless otherwise indicated.
  5. ^ a b Seccombe, Thomas (1896). "Plot, Robert". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 45. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  6. ^ Boorsch, Suzanne. "The 1688 Paradise Lost and Dr. Aldrich" (PDF). Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 20 October 2013.  The one plate not engraved by Burghers was by P.P. Bouche after Bernard Lens.


  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBryan, Michael (1886). "Burghers, Michael". In Graves, Robert Edmund. Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers (A–K). I (3rd ed.). London: George Bell & Sons.