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Scarce engraving showing the conflagration of St. Paul's Church in Covent Garden on September 17th, 1795, as a crowd of onlookers form in the Little Piazza, some atop market stalls.

The fire broke out when plumbers performing repairs left a fire for melting lead unattended on the roof. Costly restoration work on the church had been finished just six years earlier, but the building's fire insurance had not been renewed, necessitating the parish to raise funds for rebuilding.

There is a plate number "22" in the upper left corner. It might be the case that this was a state that was included in an early plate book of London views.

Condition Description
Engraving on wove paper. A strong, clear impression. Some edge damage at bottom and a marginal tear in the upper left, just entering platemark. Otherwise, a clean image.
"St. Paul's Church." Survey of London: Volume 36, Covent Garden. Ed. F H W Sheppard. London: London County Council, 1970. 98-128. British History Online. Web. 27 December 2022.
Laurie & Whittle Biography

Robert Laurie (ca. 1755-1836) and James Whittle (1757-1818) formed their Fleet Street, London-based firm upon the 1794 death of their employer Robert Sayer, himself one of the dominant print and mapmakers of the last half of the 18th century.

Laurie & Whittle started managing Sayer's business as early as 1787. They took over all managerial duties when Sayer's health flagged in 1792, and they changed the imprint in 1794 upon his death. Sayer left the two a 21-year lease on the shop (at £100 a year) and on Sayer's Bolt Court premises, as well as an option to acquire stock and equipment at a preferential price of £5,000 payable over three years.

Robert Laurie retired from the firm in 1812, and his role was assumed by his son, Richard Holmes Laurie (1777-1858). The younger Laurie worked with James Whittle until the latter died in 1818. After R. H. Laurie died in 1858, Alexander George Findlay, FRGS (1812-1875) purchased the firm from his daughters. The firm continues today under another name, specializing in yachting charts.

Laurie & Whittle were prolific print and map publishers, and throughout their careers, they produced numerous very important and rare works. They carried on Robert Sayer's atlas business and were responsible for editions of The Complete East-India Pilot and The American Atlas.