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Shakespeare's London with Retrospective Pre-Fire Views of the City and Famous Buildings

Fine plan and set of views of Elizabethan London, published by John Bowles in 1723.

The top plan of London shows the city in the 16th century while the remaining views capture London's skyline and famous buildings prior to the Great Fire of 1666.

As noted in the British Library entry for this map:

This is a retrospective map of the city as it appeared during the reign of Elizabeth I and after the destruction caused by the great fire. It was produced in the 1700s under the name of John Bowles, the map seller, with the small scenes across the centre of the map based on works by earlier artists. The view of the west facade of St Paul's Cathedral, which includes the renovations made by Inigo Jones, echoes a 1658 engraving by Wenceslaus Hollar. The view of Cheapside and the Cross is copied from a work by Callot, originally commissioned by the Queen Mother of France and England to commemorate her visit to London. The original depicted her travelling along Cheapside, but she has been omitted from this later copy.

The view of Baynards Castle records the keep as it stood before the fire, when Elizabeth I was entertained by the Earl of Pembroke with dinner and fireworks.

Howgego notes, "'A Plan of LONDON as in Queen Elizabeth's Days', 'Sold by John Bowles over against Stocks Market & at Mercers hall in cheapside' [1723] and a similar map in the 1755 edition of Stow's Survey appear to have been partly based on the 'CIVITAS LONDINUM' and partly on Porter's map (No. 11)."


The view is rare on the market, with no examples reported at auction or in dealer catalogs in AMPR or Americana Exchange.

Condition Description
Engraving on 18th century laid paper. One small area of loss, smaller than pea size, expertly reinstated with period paper and archival materials.
Darlington, Ida and James Howgego. Printed Maps of London circa 1553-1850. London: George Philip & Son Limited, 1964.