The Tower and Mint from Great Tower Hill

Thomas Shotter Boys (1803 - 1874)

Coloured lithograph

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    The Tower of London is seen here behind the building of the Mint, of which little remains today. The former premises of the Royal Mint is in fact seen here because by 1810 it had moved to new, larger premises in Little Tower Hill, designed by architects James Johnson and Sir Robert Smirke. A tail-coated figure sketching in the foreground represents the artist himself. Around him is a scene of busy London life in the early 19th century, including various horse-drawn vehicles and people engaged in work and leisure activities.

    The lithograph was published in 1842 as part of a volume titled ‘Original Views of London as it is’. The volume included only monochrome prints. However, a small number of hand-coloured sets were also published.

    The original drawing on which this print is based was completed just before the Grand Storehouse (seen to the left of the Tower) and the displays of armouries within it, were destroyed by fire on 31 October 1841. There are numerous examples of prints, published at about the same time as this, which show flames licking around the building or the ruins of the Storehouse after the fire.

  • About the artist
    Thomas Shotter Boys was born in Pentonville, North London. He was apprenticed to engraver George Cook, before moving to Paris during the 1820s. There he met Richard Parkes Bonington, with whom he worked. He returned to England in 1837 and initially engraved the designs of other artists and contributed to publications. In 1839, Boys produced his own publication, ‘Picturesque Architecture in Paris, Ghent and Antwerp’, the first English book with lithographic plates entirely in colour. He was elected a member of the New Water Colour Society in 1841 and in the following year published ‘Original Views of London As It Is’. Boys spent the last 20 years of his life teaching drawing and working as a lithographer. He died aged 71 in St John's Wood.
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  • Details
    The Tower and Mint from Great Tower Hill
    Coloured lithograph
    Purchased from Walker's Galleries, October 1953
    GAC number