Bowles & Carver.
A North West View of the Tower of London.
16 x 10
An etching in original hand colour, published in London by Bowles & Carver circa 1790.
Although the main structure of the Tower of London in this print is very familiar to us today, the surroundings appear very different. The moat is flooded and beyond its banks, in the foreground at least, the land is largely undeveloped. The tops of ships' masts docked in nearby St. Catherine's Docks can be seen appearing above the fortress and the Royal Standard flies from the keep of the White Tower. It is odd to contemplate that this castle, that we now consider to symbolise all that is great about London, once stood for the oppression of both the city and its inhabitants by invaders from France. It was founded in 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest and the wonderful White Tower, in which we take so much pride, was actually built by the insurgent William the Conqueror! In its thousand-year history the castle has been central to so much of the country's drama. By the time of this print, however, its importance as a fortress had diminished and we see it in a rather tranquil state with elegantly dressed people strolling along its perimeter.