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Works (?) Thomas Girtin

The West Front of St Martin-in-the-Fields

1790 - 1791

Print after: Charles Taylor (1756–1828), after (?) Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), engraving, 'West Front of St. Martin's Church' for The Temple of Taste, no.8, 1 June 1795, 12.5 cm, 4 ⅞ in. Reprinted in The Public Edifices of the British Metropolis, no.10, 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 West Front of St Martin-in-the-Fields
1790 - 1791
Object Type
Drawing for a Print
Subject Terms
London Architecture

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

About this Work

The drawing from which this engraving was published in June 1795 has not been traced. The print is only inscribed with the name of the publisher, Charles Taylor (1756–1823), and were it not for the fact that six of the first nine engravings included in his periodical, The Temple of Taste, were made from signed drawings by Girtin, it is unlikely that this or the other fifteen or so prints of architectural subjects from unidentified sources would have been associated with the artist. The simple and crude elevation, the unconvincing perspective of the spire and the surrounding buildings, and the out-of-proportion figures might be explained by the use of a drawing produced by a young and inexperienced apprentice, however, and Girtin’s drawings for the series appear to date from as early as 1790 or 1791.

Views of St Martin-in-the-Fields, built between 1721 and 1726, require careful composition if they are not to be partial, especially as the site was even more enclosed in the 1790s than it is today. Taylor chose a view that showed off the elegant spire and the architect James Gibbs’ (1682–1754) finest architectural achievement, the classical ‘Portico’. This, Taylor argued, was a ‘happy application of the Portico of the Temple of Antinus and Faustina, as an entry to a Christian church’ – a building, incidentally, that Girtin was to depict a few years later (TG0888).

1799 - 1800

Rome: The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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