Gideon Yates (1790-1837), View of the River Thames with Blackfriars Bridge, St Paul’s, London Bridge and the Monument
Gideon Yates (1790-1837)
View of the River Thames with Blackfriars Bridge, St Paul’s, London Bridge and the Monument
Signed and dated l.l. overmounted: ‘G. Yates. 1835’
Pencil and watercolor
This stunning view of the Thames was created by popular topographic artist Gideon Yates in 1835.Yates brilliantly captures the density of the city with clusters of tightly packed buildings resting almost at the river’s edge, and a skyline dotted with the spires of churches and the peaks of modest skyscrapers. Following massive growth in the eighteenth century, London reigned as the world’s largest city from roughly 1830 until 1925. This lively bird’s eye view spares no detail, and captures the densely populated city at a time of exciting change and prosperity.
The Blackfriars Bridge is featured prominently on the right-hand side of the painting, where it dotted with carriages and people on foot. The first fixed crossing at Blackfriars was a 995 feet long toll bridge designed in an Italianate style by Robert Mylne and constructed with nine semi-elliptical arches of Portland stone. Beating designs by John Gwynn and George Dance, it took nine years to build, opening to the public in 1769. It was the third bridge across the Thames in the then built-up area of London, supplementingthe ancient London Bridge, which dated from a generation earlier, and Westminster Bridge.
It was originally named "William Pitt Bridge" (after the Prime Minister William Pitt) but was soon renamed after Blackfriars Monastery, a Dominican priory which once stood nearby. Gideon Yates was well known for his accurate paintings of landscapes, townscapes and buildings. Though he initially started out as a maritime insurance broker in Lancaster, he was imprisoned for debt in Lancaster Castle in 1803. By 1811 Yates had become a professional artist, and painted views of the English countryside extensively.
Around 1820 the artist, who was then generating excitement among contemporaries for his exquisitely detailed drawings and watercolors, moved to London. For 36 years, he painted almost 400 pictures of the city. His artwork provides an invaluable historic record, particularly as some of the buildings no longer exist.
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