View of the Monument Erected in Memory of the Dreadful Fire in the Year 1666 / Vue du Monument érigé en Memoire du Funeste Incendie de l’An 1666
Coloured engravingpublished 1752
About the work
This 18th-century view of Fish Street Hill, a bustling London street on the north side of London Bridge, is dominated by the Monument, beyond which the Church of St Magnus the Martyr can be seen. Commissioned from the architect Sir Christopher Wren, the Monument was built in the wake of the Great Fire of London. The huge pillar, a fluted Doric column, is topped by a flaming urn. It stands 202 feet tall and is located about 202 feet from the site of the baker's shop in Pudding Lane, where the fire began. In September 1666 it took less than a week for the Great Fire to destroy 13,200 houses, 87 churches and St Paul's Cathedral. The Monument was unveiled in 1677 as a reminder of the dreadful fire and a symbol of the city’s rebirth.
About the artist
George Bickham, engraver and writing-master, was praised by Joseph Champion for his ability to transfer a design onto a copper printing plate without tracing it first, therefore producing a more faithful copy of the original. Bickham worked on his most important publication, ‘The Universal Penman’, with John Bickham (active 1730-50), who may have been his brother. The publication was sold in 52 parts from Bickham’s house in Islington. It included the work of 25 contemporary writing-masters, reproduced in 212 Plates. The Plates were embellished with decorations around the edges, added by both Bickham himself and George Bickham Junior (c.1704-1771), his son.
Giovanni Antonio Canal (Canaletto) was born in Venice, the son of a scenery painter. He probably trained under his father and assisted his father in Venice and later Rome, before returning to Venice to join the Venetian painter’s guild. His early works were mainly ‘capricci’, sold locally. During the 1720s he began painting Venetian views and met his foremost patron; Englishman Joseph Smith. Smith lived on the Grand Canal and built up the most important collection of Canaletto’s work. It was sold to George III in 1762 and remains in the Royal Collection. Canaletto moved to London in 1746, living in Soho for ten years. In 1763, after returning to Venice, he was elected to the Venetian Academy and appointed head of the Collegio dei Pittori.
- England, London, Monument to the Great Fire, City of London, Fish Street Hill, Church of St. Magnus the Martyr
- wheelbarrow, cart, barrel, topography, genre, townscape/cityscape, dog, horse, boy, man, woman, 18th century costume, dress, coat, basket, fire of London, shop-front, street, monument, bollard, pavement, house, church, spire, window, chimney
- View of the Monument Erected in Memory of the Dreadful Fire in the Year 1666 / Vue du Monument érigé en Memoire du Funeste Incendie de l’An 1666
- published 1752
- Coloured engraving
- Purchased from Vicars Bros., March 1957
- GAC number