Views of Belfast from the early 19th Century are rare. This view shows Donegall Square and parts of the estate of the Marquis of Donegall which was developed in the late 18th Century by the architect and entrepreneur Roger Mullholland, on a grid plan, as something of a rival to the streets and squares of Dublin, but with more simple architecture. On the left is the White Linen Hall of 1785, with its cupola added in 1815, which was replaced by Belfast City Hall between 1902 and 1906. In the middle distance on College square is the Belfast Academical Institution built between 1810 and 1814 to a design by Sir John Soane. The Garden to the left in the middle is perhaps that of St Anne's Church. Of these buildings only the Academical Institution now survives.
William Henry Maguire was a member of the Association of Artists founded in Belfast in 1836 and worked in William Saddler's urban topographical manner. W. G. Strickland records a View of Belfast painted in 1838 in the collection of a Mr. J. W. Wilson and a View of the Long Bridge and the Toll Bridge, executed in 1835, belonging to a Mr. Isaac Ward (Walter Strickland, A Dictionary of Irish Artists, Shannon, 1969, II, p. 88). A similar view by him is in the Ulster Museum.
We would like to thank Rory O'Donnell for his help in compiling this catalogue entry.