The North West Prospect of St. Paul’s, Deptford, together with the Rector’s House
About the work
This view of the Church of St Paul’s in Deptford shows the great variety of housing that surrounded the church at around the time the print was published in 1731. Three well-dressed figures stand in the foreground, including a gentleman apparently gesturing towards the church.
Designed by architect Thomas Archer and built between 1712 and 1730, the church at Deptford is built from Portland Stone. The most unusual feature of the building is the circular tower, with a semi-circular portico of four giant Tuscan columns around its base.
About the artist
William Henry Toms was an engraver of portraits, ships and views of cities and castles in England. He lived at Union Court, Hoborn. He and his wife, Rachel, had a son, Peter (c.1726-1777), who would go on to be a painter. Toms had numerous apprentices during his career, including the engraver and printseller John Boydell. According to the diary of landscape painter Joseph Farington, Boydell described his master as ‘a very passionate man [who] committed many extravagances while his phrenzy [sic] lasted’.
Very little is known of the artist Thomas Allin. He seems to have specialised in architectural views. In the collection of the Guildhall Library, London, there is a print titled ‘North West Prospect of St Anne, Limehouse, Stepney’, after a design by Allin.