A Closer Look: Charity Children in the Strand on 7 July 1713

Curator Laura Popoviciu takes a closer look at George Vertue's 18th-century print that celebrates the Peace of Utrecht

After 12 years of global conflict, European powers proclaimed the long-awaited Peace of Utrecht. To celebrate, Queen Anne hosted a National Thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral in London in 1713. To commemorate the procession that followed, the Lord Mayor of London asked the engraver George Vertue to provide a visual record of the event.

Take another look...

Now that you’ve watched the video, take your time and observe these intricate details in Vertue’s engraving.

  • Charity children

    Did you know that blue was the traditional colour of charity? In the engraving, 4000 charity children are shown wearing blue coats, caps, bonnets and badges, singing hymns written specifically for the occasion. The system of charity schools was inaugurated during the reign of Queen Anne.

  • Members of Parliament and the House of Lords

    200 members of both Houses, all dressed in ceremonial robes, left Parliament and paraded in their ornate, pastel-coloured, horse-drawn carriages.

  • Queen Anne

    The Queen was too tired to attend the procession, as per her physician’s advice. George Vertue came up with an ingenious solution to introduce her as a virtual participant in the event: on top of the image, pinned on the dark velvet floating curtain, she is depicted on a silver medal.