Gideon Yates (?1790-?1840)

1831 View on The Thames with London Bridge from the East Side showing Fishmonger’s Hall, The Church of St Magnus the Martyr and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Provenance: The Parker Gallery

LIttle is known of the life of Yates. Even his date of death is disputed with some sources putting it at 1837. What is known is that he spent most of his working life in London, producing many detailed views of The Thames such as this one. His style is very distinctive, and this large and impressive view of London Bridge is a typical view. He is thought to have lived in Lancaster in 1811, and to have travelled widely throughout Britain and the Continent. His works are in public collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum.

In this view, Thames barges are in the foreground with their distinctive brown sails. A steamship proceeds along the middle of The Thames. The first steamboat patented was in 1729, by John Allen an English physician. However it was not until 1783 that the first steam-powered ship, "Pyroscaphe," was demonstrated on the River Saône. By 1788 John Fitch in Philadelphia was operating a commercial service along the Delaware River were built in the United States. The first sea-going steamboat was the "Experiment" built by Richard Wright in 1813; by this point river services were becoming well established although it was not until 1815 that The Thames acquired its first successful services with "Margery" and "Thames" arriving from the Clyde where they had been in service for some years. Margate and Gravesend were the main destinations. The steamboat in this view is a paddlesteamer, with two side wheels. At the north end of London Bridge (on the far side from the viewer) is Fishmongers’ Hall, St Magnus the Martyr Church is visible on the near side of the bridge, and St Paul’s Cathedral is visible beyond.

UK Government Art Collection item 6701 is another view of The Thames by Yates, also from The Parker Gallery.

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