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Fire in the Tower!

Rare sheet comprising two lithographs of the 1841 fire of the armory in the Tower of London.

The upper image shows "The Armoury as seen in the interior of the Garrison from the Parade after the Falling in of the Roof," depicting a crowd gathered to watch the fire. The lower image, "the Conflagration as seen from Tower Hill before the destruction of the Roof of the Armoury" shows a different angle, from outside the walls of the Tower.

Contemporaries described the burning of the Tower of London in 1841 as having "exceeded in grandeur even the great fire at the House of Commons." The fire started when a flue overheated and was quickly noticed, but the Tower's engines were insufficiently filled with water. The city's fire engines were initially unable to get past the gates because of the guards, and by the time adequate help arrived, it was too late. Desperate efforts were made to rescue the crown jewels, which were surprisingly successful. The most famous images of the burning of the Tower, as with the burning of Parliament, were executed by J. M. W. Turner.

This view was drawn by Bragg & Ash, printed by Kohler, and published by William Spooner. The publishing was likely done in the immediate aftermath of the fire in order to capture the zeitgeist of fire-related publications.

Condition Description
Trimmed into imprint line at the bottom. Minor even toning.