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Works Thomas Girtin after Margaretta Elizabeth Perceval (née Wilson), Lady Arden

The Thames with St Paul's and Blackfriars Bridge

1796 - 1797

Primary Image: TG1386: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after Margaretta Elizabeth Perceval (née Wilson), Lady Arden (1768–1851), The Thames with St Paul's and Blackfriars Bridge, 1796–97, graphite on wove paper, 13 × 18.4 cm, 5 ⅛ × 7 ¼ in. The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, gift of Charles Ryskamp in memory of Dr. Edith Porada (1994.8).

Photo courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Charles Ryskamp in memory of Dr. Edith Porada (All Rights Reserved)

Print after: John Greig (c.1779–1861 or later), after Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), 'from a Drawing by the Rt Hon.ble Lady Arden' (Margaretta Elizabeth Perceval (née Wilson), Lady Arden (1768–1851)), engraving, 'London' for Select Views of London and its Environs, vol.1, pl.20, 1804, 13.2 × 19 cm, 5 ³⁄₁₆ × 7 ½ in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (B1977.14.17878).

Photo courtesy of Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (Public Domain)

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after Margaretta Elizabeth Perceval (née Wilson), Lady Arden (1768-1851)
  • The Thames with St Paul's and Blackfriars Bridge
1796 - 1797
Medium and Support
Graphite on wove paper
13 × 18.4 cm, 5 ⅛ × 7 ¼ in
Object Type
Outline Drawing; Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
London and Environs; The River Thames

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Museum Website


Albany Gallery, London; Charles Ryskamp (1928–2010); presented to the Library, 1994, in memory of Dr Edith Porada

Exhibition History

Brussels, 1994, no.47 as ’The Thames, Blackfriars Bridge and St. Paul’s from the Adelphi’; New York, 1998, no.76; New Haven, 2010, no.51


Hargraves, 2010, pp.68–69; Smith, 2018, pp.32–33; Museum Website as 'The Thames, Blackfriars Bridge and St. Paul's from the Adelphi' (Accessed 16/09/2022)

About this Work

'Blackfriars Bridge and St Paul's &c &c, from the House of M. A. Taylor Esq., Whitehall'

Girtin’s view of the same stretch of the Thames seen in the first segment of the 180-degree panoramic drawing made from a window at the home of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) (TG1378) was until recently also said to have been taken from the Adelphi. However, the view was actually executed from further upriver, as confirmed by the discovery of a strikingly similar scene in etching and aquatint after the work of the amateur artist Margaretta Elizabeth Perceval (née Wilson), Lady Arden (1768–1851), that is inscribed ‘from the House of M. A. Taylor Esqr Whitehall’ (see figure 1) (Smith, 2018, pp.32–33). An earlier writer also thought that the ‘drawing may be connected to Girtin’s Eidometropolis’ (Exhibitions: Brussels, 1994, no.47), the monumental 360-degree panorama that showed the river from the South Bank, but another recent discovery made during the preparation of this online catalogue, an engraving by John Greig (c.1779–1861 or later) (see the print after, above) from 1804 that actually reproduces Girtin’s drawing, suggests a more prosaic alternative: namely, that the pencil drawing was made for the print trade. Simply titled London, this second print repeats this Girtin drawing (now at the Morgan Library) rather than the panoramic format of the slightly earlier aquatint, and it too is dominated by the boldly cut-off view of shipping in the foreground. The fact that the link between the print and Girtin’s drawing has only just been made is not surprising, however, since the print is inscribed ‘from a Drawing by the Rt. Hon.ble Lady Arden’, with no reference to the professional artist’s involvement.

The superior quality of the draughtsmanship displayed in the pencil drawing, typical of Girtin’s work around 1796–97, means that we can discount the possibility that the work was produced by Lady Arden, and the most likely scenario is that Girtin was employed by a publisher to work up the amateur’s on-the-spot sketch into something more polished for engraving. It seems that Girtin therefore took Lady Arden’s untraced sketch as his point of departure, copied the general disposition of the distant buildings and then converted the panoramic composition into a more traditional landscape format by increasing the amount of visible sky and adding a lively framing device of shipping in the foreground, with a Thames barge lowering its mast to the right introducing a suitably picturesque accompaniment. The bold handling of the barge is in stark contrast to the prosaic pencil work in the distance, pointing up that this was little more than hack work for Girtin, and something that, as far as the publisher was concerned, did not merit the inclusion of the professional artist’s name. The plates used to embellish the Select Views of London and Its Environs, published by Greig together with James Storer (1771–1853), were modest in scale, and the fact that this example was published under Arden’s name is indicative of the audience the publication was aimed at: well-off amateurs who were primarily interested in the artistic contributions of members of their own class (Storer and Greig, 1804–5).

(?) 1796

A Panoramic View of the Thames from the Adelphi Terrace, Section One: Somerset House to Blackfriars Bridge


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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