Before and after the fire

By HOLLAR, Wenceslaus, 1666 
£3,500

A True and Exact Prospect of the Famous City of London from S. Marie Overs Steeple in Southwarke in its flourishing condition before the fire… Another prospect of the sayd citty taken from the same pllace as it appeareth now after the sad calamitie and destruction by fire in the yeare M.DC.LXVI

London British Isles
  • Author: HOLLAR, Wenceslaus
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: John Overton
  • Publication date: 1666 [but 1669–1707].
  • Physical description: Two engraved views.
  • Dimensions: 226 by 673mm. (9 by 26.5 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 18293

Notes

In 1666, Wenceslaus Hollar produced a print showing two views of the London from the south bank of the Thames, from Temple in the west to the Tower of London in the east. The image above shows the city before the Great Fire that ravaged it that year, the second the same area but after the devestation, thus showing the extent of the damage. The fire had destroyed almost 400 acres within the City Walls, including an estimated 13,000 houses and 87 churches. The latter were replaced with 53 churches built by Sir Christopher Wren alone, in addition to St Paul’s Cathedral. The Cathedral shows little external damage on Hollar’s print, and indeed it may have been possible to reconstruct the original structure, but the decision was made to take advantage of the disaster to press on with previously proposed plans to modernise the building. A 50-point numerical key along the lower edge of the print identifies notable churches in the city.

The present example is the third state, which was published by John Overton between 1669 and 1707. 

Bibliography

  1. NHG Hollar 1917 III
  2. Pennington 1015iii.
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