Copperplate line engraving by W B Cooke after the original drawing by S Owen. Published by J Murray, June 1814.
The artist Samuel Owen (1769-1857) was a watercolourist of mostly marine subjects. He also produced many pictures of the River Thames which were published as engravings and, as this picturesque scene shows, he was part of the early nineteenth century Romantic Movement. With the date of 1814, this is the earliest print specifically published for St Nicholas Church. BPC00360, ‘Brighton’, was an earlier publication of 1803, but it has just the tower in the middle distance, and is more topographical than architectural, and of course there were earlier scenes published, but showing the church as part of a wider landscape setting.
Only the tower of St Nicholas remains from the original 14th century building, and it is possible that the church stands on the site of the 11th century Norman church (see St Nicholas Church by T W Helmsley, 1896). During the major restoration and rebuilding of the church in 1853/54 by the architect Richard Cromwell Carpenter, the building that is seen in this print was reduced to the barest shell, with just the tower left intact.