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This is one of a series of pictures that Thomson made of St Paul's Cathedral from different vantage points and under varying lighting conditions. According to D.S. MacColl, Steer rescued this picture from Thomson's studio floor presumably before it was first shown at the NEAC spring exhibition of 1898, where it was praised by the critics. In 1889 Thomson had figured in the one and only exhibition of the London Impressionists, a group that included Sickert, who believed that the urban scenery of the capital was a valid subject for Impressionist painting. Thomson suspended his interest in Impressionism in the mid 1890s in favour of Spanish Old Master style painting, but later turned again to Monet.

September 2004