St. Bridget and St. Bride’s. The Elevation or Prospect of the West End of the Steeple of St. Bridget and Brides in Fleet Street, London, Shewing the Inside and outside Thereof being 235 feet high. Sr. Chr, Wren Kt. Architect Mr. Sam Foulkes Mason
24¾ x 32¾ inches
A copper plate engraving issued as part of Johannes Kip’s monumental topographical work, Le Nouveau Theatre de la Grande Bretagne, in London in 1724.
This print illustrates Sir Christopher Wren’s ambitious and expensive new church that replaced a more modest building that was completely destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. To this day it remains one of the best-loved and most graceful buildings to compliment the London skyline. It was the tallest of Wren’s spires initially standing at 235 feet until 1764 when a lightening bolt reduced it by 8 feet! The early eighteenth century in England was dominated by the work of a group of Dutch artists and engravers who came to live and work in London. It was in 1707 that David Mortier offered for sale the first series of large volumes of topographical engravings of English towns, houses and estates initially under the collective name of Britannia Illustrata (1707) and later, from 1715 onwards, Le Nouveau Theatre de la Grande Bretagne. Kip engraved the majority of the plates for this work either after his own designs or after the drawings of his fellow Dutchman, Leonard Knyff. Perhaps most famous and beloved of all are his aerial views of English country houses and estates where each plate depicts a countryseat surrounded by formal gardens and farmland. The work therefore provides an invaluable historical resource and is one of the most comprehensive and decorative topographical studies attempted in the eighteenth century.