Thomas Malton, the elder (1726–1801), and his two sons, James Malton (died 1803) and Thomas Malton, the younger (c1751-1804), were all trained architectural draftsmen. The young Thomas was perhaps the most ambitious:
“between 1773 and 1803 he showed at the Royal Academy no fewer than 128 drawings, paintings, and designs of streets and buildings in London, Oxford, and Cambridge and of various mansions in the home counties, East Anglia, Yorkshire, and Bath” (Ann Saunders). Nevertheless, he failed to be elected to the Royal Academy, twice.
Malton’s best known and arguably, most important, work was ‘A Picturesque Tour through the Cities of London and Westminster’ (1792–1801), which captures the city during one of its most elegant periods. To supplement his income, Malton painted scenery for the Drury Lane theatre, and Covent Garden; and he gave drawing classes. His pupils included the young William Turner, although he “was sent away by Malton, who found his pupil’s approach too imaginative for the exact representation required from an architectural draughtsman, but the youth was afterwards readmitted and in later life would say: ‘But my real master, you know, was Tom Malton of Long Acre’” (Saunders).