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Robert Smirke the Elder (1752 - 1845)

Design for a transparency to be used in the illumination of the main facade of the Bank of England on Threadneedle Street at the Bank of England 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.

Inscription: Sketch of a Design for a Transparent Painting / proposed to have been used in the Illumination of the Bank of England / by Robert Smirke RA / 24 April 1789

Museum number: P361

Curatorial note

This sketch is for a 'transparency', an image painted on transparent paper behind which a lamp could be lit to create an 'illumination'.

Soane's collection also includes a published etching recording the illuminations on the Threadneedle Street facade in 1789 which does not feature this design, see P266. The fact that the inscription on this drawing records that it is a 'proposed' design may indicate that it was not used in the final illuminations.

A coloured engraving hanging in Soane's Picture Room Recess depicts the central transparency used on the main facade of the Bank in 1789, see P112.


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