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Works Thomas Girtin

St Bride’s, Fleet Street, from the Thames: Outline Detail for the Eidometropolis, Section Six

(?) 1801

Primary Image: TG1858: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), St Bride’s, Fleet Street, from the Thames: Outline Detail for the 'Eidometropolis', Section Six, (?) 1801. Graphite on wove paper, 10.8 × 14.6 cm., 4 ¼ × 5 ¾ in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (B1975.3.1210).

Photo courtesy of Yale Center for British Art

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • St Bride’s, Fleet Street, from the Thames: Outline Detail for the Eidometropolis, Section Six
(?) 1801
Medium and Support
Graphite on wove paper
10.8 × 14.6 cm, 4 ¼ × 5 ¾ in
Part of
Object Type
Outline Drawing; Study for a Panorama
Subject Terms
London and Environs

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2001


John Postle Heseltine (1843–1929); his posthumous sale, Sotheby’s, 29 May 1935, lot 313; volume bought by Bernard Squire, £32; bought by Thomas Girtin (1874–1960); given to Tom Girtin (1913–94), c.1938; bought by John Baskett on behalf of Paul Mellon (1907–99), 1970; presented to the Center, 1975

Exhibition History

New Haven, 1986a, no.6 as ’St. Bride’s Fleet Street, London c.1793’


Smith, 2018, p.60

About this Work

This slight pencil sketch, showing the elaborate spire of St Bride’s, Fleet Street, with other buildings adjacent to the north end of Blackfriars Bridge, has only recently been associated with Girtin’s London panorama (Smith, 2018, p.60). The unvaried touch suggested to Susan Morris that it dated from as early as around 1793, missing the point that the style was determined by its utilitarian role in the production of the Eidometropolis (Morris, 1986, p.35). The church features in section six of the 360-degree London view (TG1859), and there is no doubt that this is a study for part of the Middlesex bank, immediately west of Blackfriars Bridge, and that it therefore replicates a small section of the larger drawing. Unlike the other pencil studies that Girtin made in preparation for the painting of his London panorama, this work does not include a grid, but it is on the same scale as the outline drawings, six out of the seven of which survive (Smith, 2018, p.45). The on-the-spot drawings, which were almost certainly made with the aid of a perspective frame, were passed to the artist’s assistants, whose task it was to transfer Girtin’s outlines onto a canvas that, according to the advertisements taken out by the artist, measured ‘1944 square feet’ (about 180 square metres) – that is, 18 ft high (5.5 m) with a circumference of 108 ft (5.5 × 33 m) – so it is likely that this detail was created to clarify an area that was unclear in the larger study (Smith, 2018, p.60). It is to be expected that such a complex collaborative venture required other studies from the artist, and these perhaps included another view of St Paul’s, which is left relatively undefined in the view of Blackfriars Bridge. 

(?) 1801

Blackfriars Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral: Outline Study for the ‘Eidometropolis’, Section Six


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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