A fews years back I noticed a number of pedestals started popping up around Dublin city centre. Each pedestal contained a picture of the area as it was in ye olde times and the title over the pedestal was “The Malton Trail”. I started to wonder who this Malton was and what was the story of these pictures.

James Malton (1765-1803) was an English architect and artist. His family had moved to Dublin in 1785 and Malton had gone to work as a drawing clerk for James Gandon who, at the time, was designing The Custom House. Three years later his employment was terminated with Gandon saying of Malton “he so frequently betrayed all official confidence, and was guilty of so many irregularities”.

This released Malton to explore his artistic side and in 1791 he made a number of drawings of Dublin. He returned to London and from his drawings he created a series of aquatints. Between 1792 and 1799 he produced six issues of prints each containing fours views with the second issue containing a bonus print. In 1799 all the prints were combined into one volume and called “A Picturesque and Descriptive View of the City of Dublin”

What I intend to do on this site is to talk about the history of the area depicted in each of those prints and to show a photograph of how those views look today. Most of the buildings still exist although we have lost two; the Tholsel was demolished in 1820 while the Marine School survived until 1979. A few of the views have also suffered over time with either buildings now existing where Malton would have be drawing from or new buildings blocking the view. In these cases I’ve either photographed what is there now or used a different vantage point.


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