A View of Tilbury Fort from Gravesend
Engraver: Chesham, F.
Medium: Aquatint with etching
View from Gravesend across the River Thames towards Tilbury Fort. The fort was built between 1670-83, in the reign of Charles II, in order to guard against and attack by French or Dutch ships up the Thames, and stop them reaching the capital. It was designed by Sir Bernard de Gomme, one of the king's military engineers. It was planned to be a pentagon, although one of the five intended bastions were never actually built. Where the missing bastion, on the side next to the river, should have been, stood a tower called the Block-house, which was built in Queen Elizabeth's reign. As can be seen in the print, by the time the river had reached Tilbury, it had considerably widened out. The land beside the river was flat, marshy and according to Daniel Defoe 'both unhealthy and unpleasant'. He thought the fort could 'justly be looked upon, as the key of the river of Thames, and consequently the key of the city of London'.