‘Covent Garden was lit up by a lucid light’
This original watercolor drawing depicts the 1867 fire that burned down Her Majesty's Theatre in Covent Garden, London.
The drawing is made on a sheet of contemporary paper, which was clearly cobbled together quickly to accommodate the artist. This indicates that the drawing was taken on the spot, as the artist likely did not have time to prepare a more suitable sheet of paper.
The drawing is made in watercolor, a medium that was popular at the time for its ability to quickly capture the colors and details of a scene. The artist has used bold brushstrokes to depict the flames and smoke emanating from the theatre, conveying the intensity and chaos of the moment.
The back of the drawing bears a postmark dated December 7, 1867, further confirming that the drawing was created shortly after the fire occurred. The postmark also shows that the drawing was mailed to L. Marc at the "Bureau de l'illustration" in Paris, suggesting that the drawing was likely created for publication in a newspaper or other periodical.
Though not signed, the drawing was surely created by a London correspondent of a Parisian publication.
Overall, this watercolor drawing is a unique and historically significant artifact that provides a fascinating glimpse into a moment of crisis and destruction in London's history. It is a valuable addition to any collection of antique London-related prints or drawings.
For further information about the fire, see the following article: thehistoryofparliament.wordpress.com/2021/05/26/covent-garden-was-lit-up-by-a-lucid-light-an-mps-account-of-the-fire-at-her-majestys-theatre-6-december-1867/