Thomas Shotter Boys first served as an apprentice in London under the engraver George Cooke and was soon absorbed by this gifted family of artists and engravers. As with many artists of the day, Shotter Boys moved to Paris in the early 1820s to pursue a career as an engraver and water colourist. Between 1833-37, he supplied 24 lithographic views to Charles Nodier’s Voyages Pittoresques et Romantiques and in 1839, issued his first major work, Picturesque Architecture in Paris, Ghent, Antwerp, Rouen…. published by his cousin Thomas Boys in London and printed by Charles Hullmandel. The plates were of exceptionally high quality, printed in colour from a succession of stones working up from primary colours to a graduation of tints from overprinting; a technique Shotter Boys claimed as his own invention.
In 1842, Shotter Boys issued his next major work, Original Views of London As It Is…, again in concert with his cousin Thomas Boys and Hullmandel. The lithographs were printed in monochrome but designed to be finished by hand. At the time of publication Shotter Boys was widely known, having been elected to the New Water Colour Society and his views were enthusiastically received. Shotter Boys personalised many of his plates with allusions to or puns of his name; of particular note is the view of the Tower and the Mint with the two fat boys who became John Tenniel’s inspiration for Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
Unusually tranquil in its depiction of the growing Metropolis, London As It Is… remains one of the most desirable representations of early Victorian London.
Below are a few examples from this collection of original antique Shotter Boys lithographs. Please click on an image to see it in high-resolution with details of the work itself. For the full list of views available, please do contact us.
Tower and Mint from Great Tower Hill. Boys depicts himself sketching in the foreground of the former Royal Armoury with the two fat boys who would become John Tenniel’s inspiration for Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
Greenwich: View from the Observatory across London. Classic view from Flamsteed House, below Wolfe memorial statue. Also visible the Queen’s House, the Naval College (then known as the Naval Asylum), the winding Thames. the Isle of Dogs and the City of London.
Custom House: Showing cargo awaiting shipping with the spire of St Magnus in the background. An erased signature is visible lower left hand corner.
Hyde Park. Showing Park Lane, Grosvenor House and one of Decimus Burton’s white Grecian lodges at Grosvenor Gate. Finished with hand colouring.
Westminister from Waterloo Bridge. View of Shot Tower, the Red Lion Brewery, Westminster Bridge, St John’s and Westminster Abbey and Hall.
Horseguards from St. James’s Park: Showing Carlton House Terrace, the Duke of York’s column, the Admiralty Telegraph and shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral in the distance.
Guildhall: Interior scene showing Gog and Magog, protectors of the City. “T.S. Boys” is carved a third of the way up the pillar on the left hand side.
Westminster Abbey showing the west facade of the Abbey, St Margaret and Westminster Hospital with Westminster Hall beyond.
St.James’s Palace: North Front to St James’s Palace From Cleveland Row.
Board of Trade, Whitehall from Downing Street. Showing Sir John Soane’s offices, the Banqueting House and the spire of St Martin in the Fields.
Charing Cross: Entry to the Strand from Charing Cross, showing the portico of St Martin in the Fields, the opening of the Strand and Northumberland House. Inscribed on the pedestal of Charles I’s statue is “T. S. Boys 1841”.
Regent Street: Looking towards the Quadrant between Prince’s Street and Hanover Street and showing Cockerell’s Hanover Chapel. A poster carried by a young boy says “Vote for Boys”.