Vestibule, Somerset Place

Thomas, jnr Malton (1748 - 1804)

Coloured aquatint

published 5 November 1796
  • About the work
    Location
    Country: USA
    City: Washington DC
    Place: British Embassy

    Malton’s view from the vestibule (hall adjacent to an outer door) at Somerset Place looks through open archways, towards the courtyard. Elegantly dressed figures pass through the vestibule, deep in conversation. It has been suggested that the figures included in these works may have been added by painter Francis Wheatley (1747-1801). This illustration was plate 37 of ‘A Picturesque Tour through the Cities of London and Westminster’ (1792-1801). The publication is remarkable for all the plates having been drawn, engraved and aquatinted by the same artist. Malton’s project was the first considerable collection of topographical and architectural drawings of London to be aquatinted and also the first British project to assemble such a large number of aquatint prints. Malton's views are now considered a particularly valuable record of London architecture at the close of the 18th century because, although numerous topographical prints were published at that time, Malton’s often show an unexpected angle or record a building not illustrated elsewhere.

  • About the artist
    Thomas Malton junior was a teacher of perspective, draughtsman, etcher and aquatint engraver of views after his own designs and caricatures after Thomas Rowlandson. He was born in London, the son of the architectural draughtsman Thomas Malton senior and the brother of James Malton, who also became a well known draughtsman and aquatint engraver. Malton junior worked in Dublin for three years for the architect John Gandon and later studied at the Royal Academy Schools. He also worked as a scene painter, as well as running evening drawing classes, at which Turner took lessons in perspective. From 1796 until 1804 he lived in Long Acre, off St. Martin’s Lane. He is best known for his careful drawings of London buildings.
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  • Details
    Title
    Vestibule, Somerset Place
    Date
    published 5 November 1796
    Medium
    Coloured aquatint
    Acquisition
    Purchased from Baynton-Williams, February 1977
    GAC number
    12806