Charles Taylor (1756–1823) was an engraver, publisher and writer, now best known for his work as a biblical scholar. His earlier publications, stemming from his work as an engraver, focused on the fine arts, including The Artist’s Repository and Drawing Magazine (Taylor, 1784–94)1 and The Landscape Magazine (Taylor, 1793). Together, they amount to a compendium of the practical knowledge and aesthetic theory that we might expect a young artist of Girtin’s generation to have been required to master during their student days. Taylor’s next publication, The Temple of Taste: Comprising Elegant Historical Engravings; Also, Views of the Principal Buildings in London (Taylor, 1794–96), actually involved the young Girtin. It seems that he provided drawings for as many as twenty-two of the engravings of the ‘Principal Buildings in London’, though only six survive or have been identified, one being The West Front of St Paul’s Cathedral (TG0043) (see also TG0026, TG0030, TG0034, TG0036 and TG0039). The engravings were published between 1794 and 1796, though Girtin’s drawings all appear to have been painted around 1791–92 – that is, when the young artist was still apprenticed to Edward Dayes (1763–1804). Although there is no documentary material to confirm it, the likelihood is that Dayes provided Girtin’s drawings to Taylor (the writer–publisher) and that Girtin did not produce the material as a commission in the traditional sense.

1790 - 1791

The West Front of St Paul’s Cathedral


1790 - 1791

An Exterior View of Henry VII’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey


1790 - 1791

The Monument


1790 - 1791

The Queen’s Palace, or Buckingham House


1792 - 1793

The East Front of St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden


1790 - 1791

The Banqueting House, Whitehall



  1. 1 The main texts, however, were written by ‘Francis Fitzgerald Esq. Drawing Master’.