Rooker, Edward (DNB00)

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ROOKER, EDWARD (1712?–1774), engraver and draughtsman, born in London about 1712, was a pupil of Henry Roberts, a landscape engraver. He became celebrated for his architectural plates, which he executed in an extremely rich and artistic style. Walpole termed him the Marc Antonio of architecture. Among Rooker's early works are a view on the Thames from Somerset House (1750), and a view of Vauxhall Gardens (1751), both after Canaletti; a view of the Parthenon for Dalton's ‘Views of Sicily and Greece’ (1751), and a section of St. Paul's Cathedral, decorated according to the original intention of Sir Christopher Wren, from a drawing by J. Gwyn and S. Wale (1755). He also contributed plates to Sir W. Chambers's ‘Civil Architecture’ (1759) and ‘Kew Gardens’ (1763), Stuart's ‘Athens’ (1762), and Robert Adam's ‘Ruins of the Palace of Diocletian at Spalatro’ (1764). Rooker's finest work is a set of six views of London, engraved in the manner of Piranesi from drawings by P. and T. Sandby, which he published himself in 1766. In that year he also drew and engraved a large view of Blackfriars Bridge, then in course of construction. He engraved many landscapes after W. Pars, P. Sandby, R. Wilson, and others; and, in conjunction with Sandby, etched three of the set of six large plates of subjects from Tasso, designed by John Collins. The headings of the ‘Oxford Almanacks’ from 1769 to 1775 were all the joint work of Rooker and his son Michael [q. v.] Rooker was an original member of the Incorporated Society of Artists, and exhibited with them from 1760 to 1768. His latest work was done for the ‘Copper Plate Magazine,’ forming a series of landscapes and portraits, which began to appear a few months before his death. He died on 22 Nov. 1774. Strutt (Dict. of Engravers) states that Rooker was a clever harlequin, and performed at Drury Lane Theatre, but his name does not occur in theatrical records.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–93; Arnold's Library of the Fine Arts, iii. 379; Dodd's Memoirs of Engravers; Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 33404; information from Joseph Knight, esq., F.S.A.]

F. M. O'D.