Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker Ltd

  • Ink and wash
  • 5 ½ × 3 ¼ inches · 140 × 84 mm
  • Drawn 1761

    Engraved by James Green for R & J Dodsley, London and its Environs, 1761, vol.III, opposite p.3.
  • £4,000

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  • Edward Croft-Murray

This characterful ink and wash drawing depicts the facade and distinctive spire of Nicholas Hawksmoor's St George's, Bloomsbury. This drawing was made by Samuel Wale in preparation for Robert and James Dodsley's enormously popular London and its Environs which was published in 1761. 

The church had been consecrated in 1730 and was therefore a relatively new landmark, as the guide explains it was 'one of the fifty new churches appointed to be built by act of parliament.' Wale's illustration shows the Corinthian portico of the southern facade with the distinctive tower, described by Dodsley: 'the tower and steeple at the west, is a very extraordinary structure. On the top standing on a round pedestal or altar, is a colossal statue of the late King, supported by a pyramid. At the corners near the base are alternately placed the lion and the unicorn the British supporters, with festoons between.' The tower became instantly recognizable and was prominently included by William Hogarth in the background of Gin Lane, published in 1751. Wale's charming drawing fills the street in front of the church with figures. Wale was one of the most prolific draughtsman for the book industry in the eighteenth century.