The East Prospect of St. Paul’s / Vue de derriere de l’Eglise de St. Paul à Londres
About the work
Artist William Emmett produced several detailed architectural drawings of St Paul’s Cathedral in London. They include an elevation of the southern facade, a north-south section through the transept and a view of the south side, including an east to west section through the Cathedral (published in 1703). Engravings of Emmett’s drawings were published after the cathedral first came into use in 1697 but before the completion of construction work in 1710. They show a very different design for the West Tower than that which was built. Emmett’s east-west section was reissued in 1703, after the artist had removed the upper part of the West Tower and made corrections to the design. A catalogue of the many prints of St Paul’s Cathedral, published by The Wren Society in 1937, describes the structure of the dome in Emmett’s east to west section as ‘impossible’, which ‘suggests that Emmett’s prints were not authorised.’
About the artist
William Emmett, architect and draughtsman, was the eldest son of Maurice Emmett (c.1646-1684). He was baptised at St. Margret's Church, Westminster. In 1702 Emmett produced a series of engravings of St. Paul's Cathedral, which were published from a house in New Street, London, owned by Emmett’s younger brother (also named Maurice). Emmett and his wife were painted by the Flemish painter, resident in London, Balthasar van Lemens (1637-1704). Lemens was also commissioned to produce religious paintings and a ceiling painting, depicting the nine muses, for Emmett’s house in Bromley.
Mezzotint engraver John Simon was born to a Huguenot family in Normandy. He trained as a line engraver in Paris, before moving to England and working as a mezzotinter. In c.1708-09 he obtained several commissioned from Godfrey Kneller, which help to boast his reputation. He also attended the Academy for Artists in Great Queen Street, established by Kneller in 1711. Simon was a prolific engraver and produced prints after works by painters Michael Dahl, Philip Mercier and Enoch Seeman, among others. His works include six plates illustrating 24 ‘Poets and Philosophers of England’ (c.1727), as well as religious and decorative subjects. Simon retired in 1742 and died in 1751. His stock of plates were sold ten years after his death.