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William Hamilton RA (1751 - 1801)
Peltro William Tomkins (1760 - 1840), engraver
J. F. Tomkins, publisher

Coloured engraving

Inscription: W. Hamilton RA pinxit [lower left]
Inscription: P.W. Tomkins sculpt late pupil of F. Bartolozzi RA [lower right]
Inscription: To the Honourable Governor, Deputy Governor and Directors of the Bank of England, / This print from the Transparent Painting exhibited on the 24th April 1789 / in the front of the Bank in celebration of His Majesty's complete Recovery and Public Visit to St Paul's Cathedral. / is by permission most humbly dedicated by thier most obedient and devoted servants Wm Hamilton and P.W. Tomkins / Allegory center [sic] figure Represents the City of London with Sword of State and City Charta. - Boy on the Right Commerce Supporting the City Arms / Boy on the left Liberality, Britannia on a Triumphant Carr [sic] conducted by Hygiæa, Goddess of Health, Peace and Plenty, coming Hand in Hand from Heaven to pour forth their / Blessings into the Lap of Britannia - Medalian [sic] Geo III, Trumpet of fame branching forth Honor and Peace - Frieze Lyon, The Earth of Britain, Boys, Genii of Cultivation / Supporting the Rich Produce of their Labor by Agriculture.
Inscription: London Published as the Act directs April 23rd 1790 by J F T Tomkins, 78 New Bond Street [bottom centre]

Museum number: P112

Curatorial note

This engraving is of the transparency (a painting on transparent paper behind which lamps could be placed to illuminate it) used directly above the main entrance to the Bank of England on Threadneedle Street on the occasion of King George III's visit to St.Paul's Cathedral on 24 April 1789 to give thanks for his recovery from madness. It can be seen in position in an etching of the illumination of the entire façade of which a copy is also in Soane's collection, see P266.

The subject, set within an arched frame, is an allegorical scene showing Britannia in a carriage driven by Hygiaea, with putti representing Peace and Plenty flying in to leave gifts in her lap. She is accompanied by a female figure personifying the City of London with Sword of State and Charter, and the British lion. Two boys representing Commerce and Liberality head the procession.

Soane also owned a sketch design by Robert Smirke for a transparency proposed for the same occasion see P361.

Associated objects

P266, same subject
P361, same subject

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk