In the early eighteenth century publishing and selling of prints was among the most innovative and vital areas of metropolitan cultural life. While published through a subscription scheme, one of the practical innovations of the early eighteenth-century print market, the series was marketed with specific reference to the antiquity of both the subjects and their portraits. In the early eighteenth century it was less an illustration, meant to evoke a given object within a projected context, than a compressed statement of the bare presence of an object as an object. In the metaphor of translation was a means of linking cultural production, or rather reproduction, to the progressive dynamic of early eighteenth-century metropolitan culture. The changing fortunes of Vertue's status as a graphic artist and antiquarian, or rather as an artist who seemed to practise antiquarianism via graphic means, illustrate with great clarity a set of profound and connected shifts in the social history of historical practice and aesthetics.