The present drawing executed on an impressive scale is one of the largest landscape works by Dayes known to exist. Iolo Williams, Early English Watercolours, London, 1970, p. 98 refers to his large watercolour Buckingham House, St James's Park, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, but this is only 15½ x 25½ in. and Greenwich Hospital, London, 17 x 27½ in. Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester, which as in the present watercolour combines Dayes' interest in architecture and figures. He did, however, make subject pictures such as The Fall of the Angels, exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1798 and sold in these Rooms, 19 November 1985, lot 27 on a similarly imposing scale.
Dayes became a student at the Royal Academy in 1780 and exhibited there from 1786-1804 and at the Society of Artists in 1790 and 1791. The scale of the present watercolour suggests that it was executed either as an exhibition piece or in reponse to a specific commission.
A small watercolour by Dayes of Lancaster, showing the bridge and the church, dated 1791 was engraved for J. Walker, The Itinerant; A Select Collection of Interesting and Picturesque Views on Great Britain and Ireland, 1791 and a looser sketch of the city from a distance dateable to 1792-4 was sold in these Rooms, 13 July 1993, lot 2.
Thomas Girtin was a pupil of Dayes and a watercolour of old Lancaster Bridge, which is stylistically close to the work of Dayes, but considerably smaller in scale, was sold in these Rooms, 16 November 2006, lot 60.