A huge 20 feet wide panorama of London and Westminster is to go on public display from next Friday for the first time.
The panorama, painted around 1815 by the French artist Pierre Prévost (1764-1823) was put up for sale last year, and bought by the Museum of London, with the help of Art Fund, the Aldama Foundation and a group of individual donors, with additional support from Michael Spencer, the Leche Trust and other donors who wish to remain anonymous.
Prévost’s London panorama was part of a huge craze for such proto-cinematic images, which blossomed in the late 18th and early 19th-centuries.
The 20-foot panorama, made from the top of St Margaret’s Church just outside Westminster Abbey, is itself just a preparatory study for a 100-foot long version that was exhibited in Paris a couple of years later.
The painting was sold by Sotheby’s last July for £250,000, compared to an estimate of £200,000 to £300,000.
Pierre Prévost’s sweeping vision captures Parliament Square, the old Palace of Westminster, cattle grazing in St James’s Park, Buckingham House, St Martin-in-the-Fields, the unfinished Strand (soon to be renamed Waterloo) Bridge, semi-rural Lambeth, and, above all, St Paul’s dominating the easterly horizon. This view is now lost to history as the old Palace of Westminster, target of the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, was burnt down in 1834.
Francis Marshall, Senior Curator of Paintings at the Museum of London, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be able to display this beautiful panorama for all to see. It captures a moment in time and reveals a captivating history of London. It’s a fantastic addition to our art collection and we are hugely grateful to Art Fund and others for supporting us in this unique acquisition.”
The panorama will be on display at the Museum of London from Friday 15th March until September.
Article last updated on May 25th, 2020 at 05:02 pm