This interior view of the Guildhall, looking west, includes several figures admiring the architecture of the building.
Although there has been a Guildhall building in the City of London since the early 12th century, work began on the current building in 1411 and the main structure was completed by 1439. Over the centuries the building has been altered by some of the UK’s leading architects, including Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723), George Dance the younger (1741-1825) and James Bunstone Bunning (1802-1863). The Guildhall was damaged by fire during the Great Fire of London and again in the Second World War. The Guildhall’s purpose was to be the centre of civic government, where lord mayors and sheriffs were elected, and where meetings of the Court of Common Council were held. It remains the home of the City of London Corporation (the municipal governing body of the City).
This lithograph was published in 1842 as an illustration to the volume ‘Original Views of London As It Is’. The publication included only monochrome prints. However, a small number of hand-coloured sets were also issued.
Thomas Shotter Boys was born in Pentonville, North London. He was apprenticed to engraver George Cook, before moving to Paris during the 1820s. There he met Richard Parkes Bonington, with whom he worked. He returned to England in 1837 and initially engraved the designs of other artists and contributed to publications. In 1839, Boys produced his own publication, ‘Picturesque Architecture in Paris, Ghent and Antwerp’, the first English book with lithographic plates entirely in colour. He was elected a member of the New Water Colour Society in 1841 and in the following year published ‘Original Views of London As It Is’. Boys spent the last 20 years of his life teaching drawing and working as a lithographer. He died aged 71 in St John's Wood.
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