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Works Thomas Girtin after William Orme

Manchester: Chetham’s College from Hunt’s Bank, with the Bridge over the River Irwell

1795 - 1796

Print after: Manchester, John Walker (active 1776–1802), 'from an Original Drawing by W. Orme' (William Orme (1771–c.1854), etching and engraving, 'Manchester' for The Copper-Plate Magazine, vol.3, no.60, pl.119, 2 January 1797, 15 × 20 cm, 5 ⅞ × 7 ⅞ in. Reprinted with the inscription 'Engraved by J. Walker from a Drawing by T. Girtin the Sketch made by W. Orme' in Thomas Miller, Turner and Girtin's Picturesque Views, p.45, 1854. British Museum, London (1862,0712.850).

Photo courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after William Orme (1771-c.1854)
  • Manchester: Chetham’s College from Hunt’s Bank, with the Bridge over the River Irwell
1795 - 1796
Part of
Object Type
Drawing for a Print; Work from a Known Source: Contemporary British
Subject Terms
City Life and Labour

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


Miller, 1854, p.xix

About this Work

This view by Girtin of the medieval heart of Manchester in the early stages of its rapid expansion as the centre of the cotton trade is known only from an engraving published in The Copper-Plate Magazine (see the print after, above) (Walker, 1792–1802). The first of more than twenty works by Girtin – a view of Woolwich (TG0158) – was engraved by John Walker (active 1776–1802) for his monthly publication in May 1793. The later engravings were made after newly commissioned works, the products of Girtin’s annual tours, but earlier views were more likely to be copied from the sketches of other artists, in this case the little-known topographer William Orme (1771–c.1854), and there is no question of Girtin having travelled to Manchester itself. When the work was first published, Girtin’s name was not included, but, by the time of its republication in 1797, the artist’s authorship was fully acknowledged on the print, suggesting that at the outset his name was not thought to be a selling point. This was dull work, indeed; converting a ‘Sketch’ that presumably lacked figures, sky and light effects into a ‘Drawing’ that could be translated into an effective print was typical of the sort of employment deemed suitable for a young artist setting out on a career.

The text that accompanies the Manchester view makes much of the city’s development into ‘the largest, most opulent, and populous town in Lancashire’, noting that its size means that a general view of the town is ‘not to be procured without going too great a distance’ (Walker, 1792–1802, vol.3). The view from the newly built bridge over the river Irwell, in contrast, shows a range of the town’s most venerable sites, including the building that is now Chetham’s College, which was constructed in 1421 as the domestic premises of the collegiate church of Manchester. That building, now the cathedral of Manchester, is shown to the right. Other buildings listed in the text include the grammar school (to the left) and the structure formerly used as the prison.

1792 - 1793



by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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