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17th century Southwark panorama at centre of archive exhibition

A 1647 panorama showing the view of Bankside and the City of London from the tower of what is now Southwark Cathedral is one of the centrepieces of an exhibition exploring the changing formats used by artists to capture the city over the centuries.

17th century Southwark panorama at centre of archive exhibition

The London: Portrait of a City exhibition at the London Metropolitan Archives is open until 6 April having had the early weeks of its run disrupted by the omicron variant of COVID-19.

One of the largest exhibits is the panorama of London by Wenceslaus Hollar, published in 1647. At more than two metres long, it depicts the view from what is now Southwark Cathedral, giving a detailed depiction of the city as it was 375 years ago.

Among other items of SE1 interest included in the exhibition is a 1715/6 woodcut of a Thames Frost Fair sold as a souvenir of the revels held on the frozen river.

The section on carbon prints includes an 1883 photograph of a working men's club near Lambeth Palace as well as images of shops in Borough High Street and of St Mary Overie Dock on Bankside.

Canaletto's 1747 depiction of Westminster Bridge on Lord Mayor's Show day is used to illustrate the section on the use of engravings in London's visual history, whilst watercolour technique is represented by an 1846 image of Chamberlain's Wharf on Tooley Street.

London: Portrait of a City is at the London Metropolitan Archives in Northampton Road EC1 until Wednesday 6 April. The exhibition is open Monday-Thursday 10am-4pm. Admission is free. The LMA currently requires visitors to wear a face covering.

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