N03506 ST PAUL'S c. 1897
Inscr. ‘George Thomson’ b.r.
Canvas, 25×30 (63·5×76).
Purchased from Christie's (Clarke Fund) 1920.
Coll: Purchased from the artist by E. J. van Wisselingh at the N.E.A.C. Exhibition 1898; A. Croal Thompson, sold anonymously, Christie's, 19 December 1919 (150), bt. Martin for the Tate Gallery.
Exh: N.E.A.C., April–May 1898 (85); Twenty Years of British Art, 1890–1910, Whitechapel Art Gallery, May–June 1910 (298); C.A.S., Loan Exhibition, Manchester, winter 1911 (90); C.A.S., First Public Exhibition in London, Goupil Gallery, April 1913 (56).
Lit: Anon., ‘Australian Art and other Exhibitions’ in Art Journal, 1898, pp.186–7, repr. p.187; D. S. MacColl, Philip Wilson Steer, 1945, p.33.
This painting was given a place of honour when shown at the N.E.A.C. in the spring of 1898 and was highly praised by the critic of the Art Journal. The cathedral is seen from a point across the river on the Surrey side. D. S. MacColl mentions that Steer ‘rescued’ a painting by Thomson of ‘St Paul's’ from the floor of the artist's studio, and identifies it as that now in the Tate; this incident presumably occurred before its first exhibition and purchase by E. J. van Wisselingh in 1898. Two other paintings, ‘St Paul's Churchyard’ and ‘St Paul's from Fleet Street’, were shown at the 21st and 23rd N.E.A.C. exhibitions, November–December 1898 (99) and November–December 1904 (77) respectively. A dated painting of 1897, showing almost the same view as No.3506 but under different conditions of light, was sold at Sotheby's on 10 April 1963 (103), bt. P.M. Samuel.
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II