It is difficult not to read Girtin’s image as an expression of pride in his success, both professional and personal. Thus, much as he was to do in the colour sketch of section three of his London panorama (TG1854), the relatively recently erected terrace, built to the utilitarian standards set by building regulations, is transformed by a fine-art aesthetic, with pen and ink and washes of bistre used in a way more reminiscent of a Dutch seventeenth-century master than a modern topographical watercolourist. The proud renter–occupier and newly wed artist was able to enjoy the comparative luxury of his move to the West End for less than a year, however. Indeed, the property may have been too much of a drain on his resources, since it was let go when he travelled to Paris at the end of the year, and on his return he moved back to live with his wife at her parents’ home in Islington.
1795 - 1796
St Paul’s Cathedral, from St Martin’s-le-Grand
Westminster and Lambeth: Colour Study for the ‘Eidometropolis’, Section Three