London, Westminster and Southwark as they appeared in 1543

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    This engraving shows a view from Southwark, looking across the River Thames towards Westminster and the City of London. It was the first panoramic view of London of the mid-Tudor period and was made by the topographical draughtsman Antonis van den Wyngaerde. It has been suggested that the panorama might have been commissioned by King Henry VIII.

    The Bodleian Library, Oxford, holds a collection of views of English cities by the draughtsman Wyngaerde, as well as the 14 drawings which, when pieced together, form this London panorama. These studies are now thought to have been made in 1544, despite this engraved version being inscribed ‘London, Westminster and Southwark as they appeared in 1543’. They are annotated by the artist with colour notes in Flemish, for example ‘blau’ (blue), ‘wit ston’ (white stone) and ‘groen velt’ (green grass). This would suggest that Wyngaerde intended to produce a colour drawing from his sketches.

    In this printed version, the key below the image lists the main buildings featured in the panorama, including some which no longer survive.

    Other examples of this print are in the collections of the Guildhall Library and the British Library.

  • About the artist
    Antonis van den Wyngaerde, a native of the Low Countries, is best-known for a series of 32 topographical studies of Spanish cities. The series was commissioned by Christopher Plantin (c.1520-1589), who ran a successful printing and publishing business in Antwerp. Wyngaerde’s Spanish drawings are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, alongside topographical drawings by the artist depicting London, Rome and various cities in the Netherlands. Several examples of his drawings are signed and dated 1558 and it has been suggested that these were made when Wyngaerde was part of a cortege travelling with Philip II, the King of Spain and (as the husband of Mary I) King Consort of England, from 1554 to 1558.
    Nathaniel Whittock was a draughtsman, lithographer and aquatint engraver, who produced mainly landscape views after his own designs or works by contemporary artists. Whittock also made etched bookplates early in his career and later published books on drawing, including ‘The Art of Drawing and Colouring from Nature, Flowers, Fruits and Shells’ (1829). He worked in both London and Oxford and described himself as a ‘Teacher of Drawing and Perspective and Lithographist to the University of Oxford’.
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  • Details
    London, Westminster and Southwark as they appeared in 1543
    Transferred from the Post Office, April 1961
    originally puchased by the General Post Office (date unknown); transferred to MoW April 1961
    GAC number