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Works (?) Thomas Girtin after (?) Edward Dayes

Westminster Bridge, from the North East

1792 - 1793

Print after: Charles Taylor (1756–1828), after (?) Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), engraving, 'View of Westminster Bridge' for The Temple of Taste, no.15, 1 January 1796, 12.5 cm, 4 ⅞ in. Reprinted in The Public Edifices of the British Metropolis, no.20, 1820. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection Library.

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

(?) Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after (?) Edward Dayes (1763-1804)
  • Westminster Bridge, from the North East
1792 - 1793
Part of
Object Type
Drawing for a Print
Subject Terms
London and Environs; The River Thames

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

About this Work

Westminster Bridge

Charles Taylor’s (1756–1823) engraved view of Westminster Bridge for his periodical The Temple of Taste was published on 1 January 1796, complementing his earlier depiction of Blackfriars Bridge (TG0038). The original drawing, presumably by the young apprentice Girtin, has not been traced, but it may have been made after a sketch by his master, Edward Dayes (1763–1804). He too depicted the bridge from a low viewpoint on the south bank, with Westminster Abbey and Westminster Hall rising above, in a watercolour that is dated 1793 but that may have been based on an earlier sketch (figure 1). However, there are significant differences that suggest that the artist possibly worked from his own sketch. In particular, the insecure perspective of the bridge makes it appear curved and the great historical buildings on the opposite bank are rendered as a confused jumble poking up above the bridge; consequently, they lack the grandeur and significance that Dayes imparts to them. ‘This Bridge’, according to Taylor in the text that accompanies the engraving, was ‘universally allowed to be among the finest in the world, uniting grandeur and simplicity’, but little of that comes across in a naive composition that suggests a young artist struggling to achieve his brief without a tried and trusted model to follow.

Westminster Bridge was designed by the Swiss architect Charles Labelye (c.1705–62) and was built between 1739 and 1750 as the first modern crossing of the Thames. The bridge comprised fifteen arches and was built in Portland stone. Taylor’s text typically praises the achievement in patriotic terms, adding that his own view is further enhanced by the ‘ornamented Barges on the river’, which depict ‘the annual water-procession of the Lord Mayor of London, to be sworn into office at Westminster Hall’.

1790 - 1791

Blackfriars Bridge


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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