A Perspective View of the Royal Exchange London Vue de la Bourse Royal Londres
Author: MAURER, J.
Publication place: London
Publisher: Sold by John Bowles at ye Black Horse in Cornhill
Publication date: 1741.
Physical description: Engraved print.
Inventory reference: 12440
The Royal Exchange was the first commercial building in England, inspired by Sir Thomas Gresham’s experience of the bourse in Antwerp. It was clearly significant enough to his contemporaries for Hogenberg to record the occasion: he also produced a print of the exterior. Gresham (1519–1579) was a banker and merchant, whose expertise in currency helped rebuild the pound under successive Tudor monarchs. The Exchange was designed both to provide a centre of commerce as England’s financial power grew, and also to act as a source of income for Gresham, who rented out the shops in the building. The print shows the Exchange without the column crowned by a grasshopper added in the final stages of building, which appears in the second state. Gresham’s crest was a grasshopper, probably a play on the first syllable of his name. The royal arms are suspended above the courtyard, with Gresham’s arms underneath: Elizabeth I would officially open the Exchange in 1571, granting it a royal title and the right to sell alcohol.