Although the present watercolour bears a signature and date 'E Duncan 1839' both this watercolour and lot 60 appear to be by Thomas Allom. Both these lots relate closely to two engravings, after drawings by Allom, by J.H. Le Keux, published by E. Gambart in 1846. In addition the subject matter, style of execution and the choice of palette are much more typical of Allom.
Allom exhibited a larger version of lot 60 (25¼ x 33¼ in.), London from St. Bride's Church at the Royal Academy in 1844, no. 1081. The Builder, 1844 reviewing the Royal Academy exhibition commented 'A beautiful drawing, showing as much of the vast city as possibly can be seen in one view, except from the summit of St Paul's Cathedral.' The companion view London from the upper gallery of St Paul's Cathedral, which relates to the present work, was then executed, probably in response to this comment. The present watercolour and lot 60 are smaller in size and pre-date the exhibited watercolour and its companion piece and may be preliminary drawings for the finished works. The whereabouts of the exhibited watercolour and its companion piece are unknown.
We are grateful to Ralph Hyde and Charles Hind for their help in preparing this catalogue entry.