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drawing

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1855,0214.26

  • Description

    Blackfriars bridge and St Paul's, Section VI of Girtin's panorama of London 'Eidometropolis'; view looking across the river, the bridge coming into the foreground and viewed from a height, St Paul's at r. 1800-01 Pen and brown ink, with watercolour; squared for enlargement

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1800-1801
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 354 millimetres
    • Width: 512 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    A related engraving (reg.no 1863,0110.98) is kept with these drawings. See also 1855,0214.23-28 See also 1863,0110.98

    Stainton 1985
    No watercolour for the fourth section of the 'Eidometropolis' is known, but this working drawing (marked by oil-stains, which suggests that the final version was painted in oils rather than distemper, as has been thought) shows Girtin's mastery of the essentials of architectural draughtsmanship. In this study, his technique is derived from Canaletto, whose drawings and etchings he had copied as a student, adopting a similar technique of short lines interspersed with dots. While other contemporary artists - Joseph Farington for example - turned this into an irritating mannerism, it was developed by Girtin and Turner into an expressive and personal language.
    Many City landmarks are recognisable in this drawing; on the extreme left (the west) is the spire of St Bride's, Fleet Street. In the far distance, the towers of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate; St Martin Ludgate; and Christchurch, Newgate Street. St Paul's dominates the skyline and must have created a particularly dramatic effect in the completed panorama, but its scale is slightly exaggerated. The amount of exact detail in this drawing suggests that Girtin may have used a camera obscura or some similar optical apparatus, although one contemporary account stated that "The artist, it seems, did not take the common way of measuring and reducing the objects, but trusted to his eye". This may have been a case of the art that conceals art. The squaring-up was obviously an essential stage in the development of Girtin's panorama from the initial small-scale rough sketches which he presumably made, but which have not survived, to the final canvases.

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  • Bibliography

    • Girtin & Loshak 1954 227 bibliographic details
    • Binyon 1898-1907 34 bibliographic details
    • Stainton 1985 82(d) bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British Imp PV)

  • Exhibition history

    1985, BM, British Landscape Watercolours 1600-1860, no.82d 1988/9 Nov-Jan, London, Barbican, 'Panoramania!', no. 35 2002 July-Sep, London, Tate Britain, 'Thomas Girtin and the Art of Watercolour', no.

  • Subjects

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1855

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    1855,0214.26

Blackfriars bridge and St Paul's, Section VI of Girtin's panorama of London 'Eidometropolis'; view looking across the river, the bridge coming into the foreground and viewed from a height, St Paul's at r. 1800-01 Pen and brown ink, with watercolour; squared for enlargement

Recto

Blackfriars bridge and St Paul's, Section VI of Girtin's panorama of London 'Eidometropolis'; view looking across the river, the bridge coming into the foreground and viewed from a height, St Paul's at r. 1800-01 Pen and brown ink, with watercolour; squared for enlargement

Image description

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