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image P266

Peltro William Tomkins (1760 - 1840), engraver
J. F. Tomkins, publisher

Elevation of the main facade of the Bank of England on Threadneedle Street showing the arrangement of the lamps and decorations at the Illumination 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

Etching and acquatint on paper

Inscription: Lettered with title incorporated in dedication to Mark Weyland, Samuel Bosanquet and the other directors of the Bank of England by William Hamilton and P.W. Tomkins, and with address Publish'd May 12th 1790 by J.F. Tomkins No. 18 New Bond Street

Museum number: P266

Curatorial note

As architect to the Bank of England John Soane was responsible for overseeing the illumination of the Bank to mark official national celebrations.

This print shows the Threadneedle Street façade lit by numerous lamps creating the outlines of triumphal torchères and garter stars on the screen walls flanking the centre block and outlining the cornice and pediments. On the roofline of the central block the urns are outlined with lights and garlands of small lamps hang between them. The pilasters and windows are outlined with strings of lamps which also spell out GOD SAVE THE KING above the entrance and at the top of the façade the letters GR [George Rex] flank a crown. In the centre of the central block the main illumination depicts Britannia in her chariot with an illumination of the King's head in profile above.

Soane also owned a copy of a coloured engraving of the transparency of Britannia at the centre of this print, above the main entrance to the Bank, see P112. The collection also includes a sketch design by Robert Smirke for a transparency proposed for the same occasion, see P361.

Associated objects

P112, same subject
P361, same subject


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