The Fire of London, September 1666
An imaginary account of the Fire of London from the River Thames. Painted about one hundred years after the event, the view looks up river towards the Pool of London with the Tower of London in the right foreground. The city is alight and in the background London Bridge is ablaze, its arches highlighted against the conflagration. The road is packed with people escaping from the flames and many of them are shown boarding boats in an attempt to escape the inferno. The artist has captured the sense of drama and panic with the fleeing figures in the foreground amid wagon wheels and barrels. The picture aims for dramatic effect rather than accuracy. It is possible that the artist had never visited London, since the buildings, such as the Tower of London on the right are not closely or accurately observed. The vivid nature of the scene is enhanced by the red glow of the fire dominating the city at night, yet on the left of the picture the south bank, away from the inferno, is calmly lit by moonlight.
Object Number: BHC0291
Original size: 485 mm x 750 mm
Date: 18th Century
- Image reference: BHC0291
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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