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Works Thomas Girtin

The Monument

1790 - 1791

Primary Image: TG0030: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), The Monument, 1790–91, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, 12.5 cm, 4 ⅞ in diameter. London Metropolitan Archives (q8036629).

Photo courtesy of London Metropolitan Archives (City of London) (All Rights Reserved)

Print after: Charles Taylor (1756–1828), after Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), engraving, 'The Monument' for The Temple of Taste, no.3, 1 January 1795, 12.5 cm, 4 ⅞ in. Reprinted in The Public Edifices of the British Metropolis, no.21, 1820. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection Library.

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

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)
  • The Monument
1790 - 1791
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper
12.5 cm, 4 ⅞ in diam.

‘T. Girtin’ lower left, by Thomas Girtin; ‘The Monument’ lower centre

Part of
Object Type
Drawing for a Print
Subject Terms
London Architecture

Catalogue Number
Girtin & Loshak Number
4 as '1790'
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2016


Charles Cheers Wakefield (1859–1941); presented, 1937


Girtin, 1952, pp.112–13

About this Work

'A View of the Monument erected in Memory of the dreadfull Fire in the year 1666'

Girtin’s signed drawing for plate three of Charles Taylor’s periodical The Temple of Taste (published 1 January 1795) may have been adapted, with some variations, from an etching dating to 1752 by George Bickham the Younger (c.1706–71), said to be after Giovanni Antonio Canale (Canaletto) (1697–1768). Girtin’s master, Edward Dayes (1763–1804), had an extensive collection of prints and it is likely that this resource provided Girtin with the models he required for those of his London views that were not covered by Dayes’ own sketches. Although not inconceivable, it is unlikely that Girtin made sketches from the buildings themselves, therefore, using instead secondhand images that rendered the subjects in suitably simple and unpicturesque terms. In this case, Sir Christopher Wren’s (1632–1723) Monument, erected between 1671 and 1676, and its position relative to the surrounding buildings differ sufficiently from its purported model to leave open the possibility that a closer fit might still be found in the work of an older member of the native topographical school.

The text accompanying the print, not surprisingly given the publisher, Taylor’s, architectural interests, dwells at length on the monumental ionic column and its relation to the events it commemorates, printing the long inscriptions that adorn its pedestal. ‘It much exceeds in height the pillars at Rome … those stately remains of Roman grandeur,’ Taylor concluded, and little more than that is communicated in Girtin’s rather gauche composition. In all Girtin may have made as many as twenty-one drawings for Taylor’s publication, though this is one of only six that are known to survive, including another of one of Wren’s masterpieces, The West Front of St Paul’s Cathedral (TG0043).

1790 - 1791

The West Front of St Paul’s Cathedral


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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