For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.
Works (?) Thomas Girtin

Blackfriars Bridge

1790 - 1791

Print after: Charles Taylor (1756–1828), after (?) Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), engraving, 'Black-Fryers Bridge' for The Temple of Taste, no.12, 1 October 1795, 12.5 cm, 4 ⅞ in. Reprinted in The Public Edifices of the British Metropolis, no.19, 1820. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection Library.

Photo courtesy of Yale Center for British Art (Public Domain)

(?) Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • Blackfriars Bridge
1790 - 1791
Part of
Object Type
Drawing for a Print
Subject Terms
London Architecture; River Scenery

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
The original known only from the print

About this Work

Charles Taylor’s (1756–1823) engraving of Blackfriars Bridge for his periodical The Temple of Taste was published on 1 October 1795. The original drawing, presumably by the young apprentice Girtin, has not been traced. In contrast to the majority of the London views used in the publication, which were adapted from existing images, the unusual, if not idiosyncratic, depiction of the bridge suggests that the watercolour used as the basis for the engraving was made specially. The artist thus adopts a low viewpoint from the north bank that shows only six of the nine arches of the bridge and gives great prominence to the Albion Mills at the Surrey end, in contrast to the more common view from the south bank, which includes St Paul’s Cathedral rising majestically above. The Albion Mills, which were to feature in Girtin’s London panorama, taken from the southern end of Blackfriars Bridge (TG1851), are shown here before the fire that consumed the majority of the building in March 1791. This suggests that the original drawing was made a number of years prior to its publication.

The prominence given to the Albion Mills, what Taylor called in the text that accompanied the engraving a ‘considerable and singular edifice’, reflected a common patriotic pride in British manufacturing at this date. The building, which was reputed to have required ‘£300,000 of capital’, is ‘without a rival’ and ‘no other country could have supported’ such an ambitious and pioneering venture, he argued. The ‘elegant structure’ of Blackfriars Bridge, ‘built after the design of Mr. Robert Mylne’, was a similar cause of patriotic pride for Taylor. The bridge, built between 1760 and 1769, was praised by architectural writers for the elegant use of ‘pairs of Ionic pillars’, which faced the piers. This ‘singular application of columns is beautiful from the river’, Taylor noted.

(?) 1801

The Albion Mills: Colour Study for the ‘Eidometropolis’, Section One


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

Revisions & Feedback

The website will be updated from time to time and, when changes are made, a PDF of the previous version of each page will be archived here for consultation and citation.

Please help us to improve this catalogue

If you have information, a correction or any other suggestions to improve this catalogue, please contact us.