Another engraving of the buried Roman west gate of Lincoln

Back in March this year I wrote a post on the 19th century rediscovery of the west gate of Roman Lindum, modern Lincoln.  The Norman castle mound had buried it; and it was rediscovered when a nearby businessman sought to enlarge his own property by digging away at the mound.  Out came the gatehouse, more or less complete, only to promptly collapse!  It was then quickly reburied.  A single etching of the gate is known, which I gave there.

All this I owe to a twitter thread by the excellent Dr Caitlin Green.  But last night that thread was updated.  There is not, it seems, just the one etching.  Julian Parker wrote:

There’s another. I bought this 1836 Day & Haghe lithograph of the Western Entrance into Ancient Lindum inscribed to John, Earl Brownlow by Samuel Tuke in a Lincoln auction last night. I cannot find any other copy of it, which is intriguing …

Mr Parker then kindly posted a picture of his purchase:

This is, of course, marvellous.  Clearly the Earl instructed someone to draw the discovery.  Another tweeter added, “A great find!”, to which Mr Parker responded:

I think it may be: it shows better detail than the engraving from The Gentleman’s Magazine, the whole in a slightly less catastrophic state of collapse; possibly drawn just as they realised they’d better backfill it to avoid worse disasters!

And then he found another example of the print:

Just tracked down one at Belton House in the National Trust Collection; that would be a likely spot to find one, given it was Earl Brownlow’s house and the lithograph is inscribed to him.

Which is online here, in this rather low quality image:

We owe a debt of gratitude to Mr Parker for making this known so promptly, and to the right people.  This is marvellous to have.

The stately homes of England retained their art collections until after the second world war, since when punitive taxes have progressively despoiled them.  But who knows what is out there?  Who would have thought that this existed?


UPDATE July 2021: Here is a better photograph of the print, from Twitter here.

Julian Parker bought this in a Lincoln auction in Nov 2018. It’s an 1836 Day & Haghe lithograph of the Western Entrance into Ancient Lindum inscribed to John, Earl Brownlow by Samuel Tuke.

In the same thread Peter Lorimer posted here some useful photographs of the lumps and bumps outside the medieval gate, where the Roman gate lies buried, with a reconstruction, and also some maps of the area.  These he has kindly allowed me to post here:

Location of the Roman west gate of Lincoln
The grassy mound under which lies the Roman west gate, to the left of the medieval gate.
Reconstruction of the Roman wall and gate in the modern landscape by Peter Lorimer.

Thank you Peter for posting these!


3 thoughts on “Another engraving of the buried Roman west gate of Lincoln

  1. And how delightful that it is such an ‘action shot’, too – workers at work, or taking a break, tourists ranging about…!

  2. On p. 15 of Vol. XV Pt 1. of the 1879 Associated Societies’ Reports and Papers I have just found:

    ‘The Northern Gate — the Newport Arch — is still standing, and the Western Gate is buried in the Castle-mound with its materials still complete. Some of our readers are probably familiar with the drawing taken of it in 1836 by Mr. Tuke (and lithographed by Day and Haghe) before the weight of earth above it caused it to collapse. Would not the meeting of the Archaeological Institute this year (1880) be a good occasion for restoring this ancient Decuman Gate of Lincoln?’

    so the existence of the lithograph I bought at auction in late 2018 was hiding, waiting to be discovered again.

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