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“Londinum Florentissima Britanniae Urbs Toto Orbe Celeberrimum Emporiumque” (Latin - London is the most famous British city in the whole world).

Published in Amsterdam, 1616, by Claes Visscher.

Published in the year of Shakespeare’s death, Visscher’s engraving is one of the few visual records of London before much of it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. It shows a low-rise cityscape dominated by the spires and steeples of its churches.

Shows a panoramic view of London from the south bank looking across the River Thames from Whitehall Palace to St Katherine's Church in the East.

Old St Paul's Cathedral appears without the spire which was lost after it was struck by lightning in 1561,

Old London Bridge is covered by shops and houses; the gate house is adorned with the heads of criminals on spikes.

Harrow on the Hill, the windmills at Hampstead, and the spires of Hackney and Stepney can be seen in the distance.

Prominent buildings depicted on the south bank are The Swan theatre, The Globe (Shakespeare’s) theatre, the Bear garden, and the churches of St Mary Overie (later to become Southwark Cathedral) and St Olave's.

­­­The Kings barge, small boats and watermen are shown on the river, with heavy shipping east of London Bridge.

Visscher (1587 – 1652) was born and died in Amsterdam, and probably never visited London.

There are various theories as to how the image was compiled. One is that he worked from a combination of existing maps and map-views with a various dates. Another is that he worked from sketches that were compiled by his publisher who spent several years in London.

Claes Visscher 1616

  • Each sphere is hand made from casting plaster. Each globe is made in the time honoured traditional method. 12 paper gore sections are carefully applied to the sphere with starch paste. Once dry the surface is burnished and finished with multiple very thin layers of varnish..

    Each map or prospect globe is registered at the IPO with a certificate of registration for UK design


     reg no.

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