We have been unable to make any favourable comparisons with known works by P. De-Wint so we can assume our watercolour is a copy, after the print. The original work is more likely to have been drawn in ink and wash. However, our picture has been very well painted and possibly dates from the time the print was first published or soon after.
The building on the near left of the painting is the Old Auction Mart in Bartholomew Lane, on the site of which Parrs Bank now stands. The east front of the Bank of England looks towards the Royal Exchange. By the Exchange stands the church of St Bartholomew which was rebuilt after the great fire by Christopher Wren then demolished in 1840.
The coffee-room of the Auction Mart occupied the whole of the north side of the building next to Throgmorton Street, with a side entrance from there, and another, the principal one, from the hall of the building, which was entered from Bartholomew Lane by a few stone steps. From the main hall a wide staircase led to the several auction rooms on the floors above. The coffee-room was thrice as long as its width and was fitted with the usual old-fashioned mahogany boxes all-round the walls with tables to seat six persons in comfort. The bar occupied a space immediately opposite the entrance from the hall. The kitchens and cellars were all in the basement below. Except on the days when sales were in progress, and those attending them visited the coffee-room to lunch, the principal frequenters of the place were members of the adjacent Stock Exchange and their clients, who found the Mart a convenient trysting-place to meet their brokers on business. There were all sorts of auction sales in the rooms upstairs, and sometimes there were funny and amusing scenes.
I remember a sale of pictures being announced by a well-known firm of auctioneers, and the statement on the bills that one of the works of art to be offered for competition was by Annabelle Correggio. It was not often that the ordinary sales at the Mart had any attraction for the members of the Stock Exchange; but when pictures by celebrated old masters were catalogued it was quite another thing, there being several men in the house who not only took great interest in such works but were excellent judges and connoisseurs.
Such an announcement at once caught the notice of these people, anxious to see a work by such an artist, and it soon became evident there would be a good attendance to await the auctioneer taking his position in the rostrum. Luckily for the ignorant gentleman, whose knowledge of the old masters was evidently very meagre, and somewhat mixed up, he happened to have a friend in one of the share markets, who pointed out the extraordinary jumble of names that had been selected. He was only just in time to have fresh bills issued on the day before the sale, with the name of Annabelle Carracci, in the place of the compound mixture of a cognomen first announced. It is highly probable that Carracci had quite as much to do with the production of the picture in question as Correggio; for when it was hung up in the sale room those who knew what pictures are, pronounced it to be the work of an unmistakable duffer.
The 1829 Robson’s directory places John Humphreys, at the Auction Mart Coffee House, Bartholomew lane, Bank
References : Lots of references are made to two sources on the internet archive :
Edward Callows, Old London Taverns &
John Timbs, Club life of London Volume 2