Old St. Paul’s Cathedral

Here’s the second of several wonderful English landscape drawings from the artist Antonie van den Wyngaerde. He is most well-known for his wonderful landscape drawings of many of the cities and town in England that were commissioned by Philip II of Spain.

Wyngaerde was neither English or Spanish, he was Flemish and was born in Antwerp. He lived from either 1510 or 1525 until 1571.

This drawing is one of several London landscapes that he drew around 1544. It prominently features St. Paul’s Cathedral. Anyone familiar with the cathedral knows that the building no longer looks like this.

This drawing represents what is known as “Old St. Paul’s Cathedral.” Much of the building was destroyed under Henry VIII and Edward VI and their Dissolution of the Monasteries and Chantries Acts. (Remember Henry VIII wanted a divorce and the Catholic Church said no and he formed his own church, the Church of England.) But, the spire was destroyed by lightening in 1561. The spire, before it was destroyed, was the third highest spire in the world at that time. Sir Christopher Wren was in the midst of restoring the original cathedral when it was consumed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. He would demolish what remained of the old cathedral, design the new one with it’s famous dome and build the cathedral that was completed in 1710.

Not matter if you are looking for landscape drawings which include the original cathedral or are simply looking for a wonderful English landscape drawing to use as the background for another work, this image might work well for you.

old st pauls cathedral landscape drawing

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