The changing landscape of seventeenth century London

By HOLLAR, W[enceslaus], 1710 
£5,000

The Prospect of London and Westminster taken from Lambeth

London British Isles
  • Author: HOLLAR, W[enceslaus]
  • Publication place: [London
  • Publication date: c1710-1753].
  • Physical description: Engraved panorama.
  • Dimensions: 645 by 790mm. (25.5 by 31 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 18270

Notes

Hollar’s prospect of London shows the north bank of the Thames from Peterborough House in Fulham to St George’s Allhallows Church in Barking. On the south bank Lambeth Palace fills the centre. The view offers a snapshot of everyday life in the city: on the river, the Lambeth ferry is visible with a coach and two horses on board, with passengers waiting on the opposite bank. The hills of Hampstead and Highgate have been outlined on the horizon, indicating the growth of the city after the fire. A key beneath the image identified numerous geographical and topographical features on the view.

The present example is the second state of the view, and is thus a valuable sources of information about the changes to the city that occured from the date that it was first published in the 1640s. In the second half of the seventeenth century London underwent the Civil War, the Black Death and the Fire of London, precipitating a wave of rebuilding and restructuring across the city. The legacy of the Fire is shown by the new St Paul’s Cathedral as designed by Sir Christopher Wren, with a dome rather than a spire. The spires to the left are some of the fifty new churches Wren built to replace those lost in the Fire. To the right, the Monument to the Fire of London (marked at’) is present, erected in 1677. These later reworkings, executed by another hand, help to form a comprehensive understanding on the major changes seen to the London skyline over the decades.

The present example must date from after 1697, when St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is shown with its classical dome, was completed. A manuscript note on one example dates it at 1710, whille a John Bowles and Son catalogue for 1753 listed a Prospect of London & Westminster from the South’, and Laurie & Whittle were known to be publishing re-worked impressions in the late eighteenth century.

Bibliography

  1. NHG Hollar 955 II
  2. Pennington 1013ii.
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