Angers is a city in western France, about 300 km (190 mi) southwest of Paris. It is chef-lieu of the Maine-et-Loire department and was, before the French Revolution, the capital of the province of Anjou. The inhabitants of both the city and the province are called Angevins. The commune of Angers proper, without the metropolitan area, is the third most populous in northwestern France after Nantes and Rennes and the 17th in France.
Angers is the historical capital of Anjou and was for centuries an important stronghold in northwestern France. It is the cradle of the Plantagenet dynasty and was during the reign of René of Anjou one of the intellectual centers of Europe. Angers developed at the confluence of three rivers, the Mayenne, the Sarthe, and the Loir, all coming from the north and flowing south to the Loire. Their confluence, just north of Angers, creates the Maine, a short but wide river that flows into the Loire several kilometers south. The Angers metropolitan area is a major economic center in western France, particularly active in the industrial sector, horticulture, and business tourism.
Angers proper covers 42.70 square kilometers (16.5 sq mi) and has a population of 147,305 inhabitants, while around 394,700 live in its metropolitan area. The Angers Loire Métropole is made up of 33 communes covering 540 square kilometers (208 square miles) with 287,000 inhabitants.
Angers enjoys a rich cultural life, made possible by its universities and museums. The old medieval center is still dominated by the massive château of the Plantagenêts, home of the Apocalypse Tapestry, the biggest medieval tapestry ensemble in the World. Angers is also both at the edge of the Val de Loire, a World Heritage Site, and the Loire-Anjou-Touraine regional natural park.
Boys was born at Pentonville, London, on 2 January 1803. He was articled to the engraver George Cooke. When his apprenticeship came to an end he went to Paris where he met and came under the influence of Richard Parkes Bonington, who persuaded him to abandon engraving for painting. Some sources describe him as a pupil of Bonington, although William Callow, who later shared a studio with him in Paris, disputed this.
He exhibited at the Royal Academy for the first time in 1824, and in Paris in 1827. In 1830 he went to Brussels, but returned to England on the outbreak of the revolution there. Paying another visit to Paris, he remained there until 1837, and then returned to England in order to lithograph the works of David Roberts and Clarkson Stanfield.
His most important work, Picturesque Architecture in Paris, Ghent, Antwerp, Rouen, etc., a collection of colour lithographs, appeared in 1839, attracting a great deal of admiration.Drawn on the stone by Boys and printed by Charles Joseph Hullmandel, it was described in a review in the Polytechnic Journal as "the first successful effort in chroma-lithography hitherto brought to perfection". King Louis-Philippe sent the artist a ring in recognition of its merits. He also published Original Views of London as it is, drawn and lithographed by himself, (London, 1843). He drew the illustrations to Blackie's History of England, and etched some plates for John Ruskin's Stones of Venice.
Boys was a member of the Institute of Painters in Water Colours, and of several foreign artistic societies. He died in 1874.