St Stephen’s, Bristol, Gloucestershire
About the work
This print is dominated by the huge tower of St Stephen’s Church Bristol. Beneath the tower, women with children are seen wondering through the church yard, while others are entering the church.
Although the current church was built in around 1470, there has been a church on the site of St Stephen’s in Bristol since the 11th century. Originally located on the banks of the River Frome, the river was diverted in the late 15th century in order to create Bristol Harbour. The tower of the church is 152 feet high and is surmounted by a ‘crown’ of open-work arcaded battlements and pinnacles. St Stephen’s church contains several elaborate tombs, including the tomb of 14th-century clothier and merchant Edmund Blanket and 17th-century navigator, explorer and merchant Martin Pring.
This lithographic print was published in 1855 as Plate V of the second volume of ‘Illustrations of the Spires and Towers of the Medieval Churches of England’, by Charles Wickes.
About the artist
Charles Wickes was born in Charlton, Kent; the son of a merchant. The family moved to Cambridgeshire and then to Leicester, where Wickes trained as an architect before entering into partnership with William Flint. They were responsible for work to King’s Norton Church (1850) and the Corn Exchange (1850) in Leicester, before the partnership was dissolved in 1853. Wickes drew ‘Illustrations of the Spires and Towers of the Medieval Churches’ (published 1854-55) and wrote ‘Memorials of English Medieval Churches’ (1857) and ‘Villa Architecture’ (1859-62). However, by 1863 he was wanted for having fraudulently withdrawn some £1,800 using a forged cheque book. He served 15 years at Millbank Prison, Pimlico, and Parkhurst, on the Isle of Wight.
Alfred Newman was a pupil of the draughtsman and lithographer George Hawkins. He engraved architectural subjects after designs by architects, including George Edmund Street (1824-1881), William Eden Nesfield (1835-1888) and Charles Wickes (born 1828). Newman also produced the lithographs for ‘Reliques [sic] of Ancient English Architecture’ by J. Johnson, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and ‘Specimens of Mediaeval Architecture’ by W. E. Nesfield (1861-62).