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Unknown artist, seventeenth century

The Great Fire of London, with Ludgate and Old St. Paul's

Former Title(s):

The Great Fire of London, Showing Ludgate and Old St. Paul's [1985, Cormack, YCBA Concise Catalogue]

ca. 1670
Oil on canvas
Support (PTG): 53 x 43 5/8 inches (134.6 x 110.8 cm)

Label on verso, upper center: “Pitt & Scott Ltd | 20/24 Eden Grove, London, N.7 | [handwritten] <Paul Mellon | 45>”

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
buildings | church | city | cityscape | correctional institution | fire | flames | historical subject | people | portcullis | prison | river | smoke
Associated Places:
England | Europe | London | Ludgate | St. Paul's Cathedral | Thames | United Kingdom
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

Three hundred fifty years ago, from September 2 to 5, 1666, a catastrophic fire swept westward from Pudding Lane in the City of London along the course of the river Thames, before stopping just short of Whitehall Palace. By September 4, the fire had reached Ludgate, the westernmost gate of the old city. That moment is represented in this painting, which was made shortly after the Great Fire to commemorate the disaster. Ludgate is consumed by fire while the medieval St. Paul’s Cathedral burns in the distance. The diarist John Evelyn described the destruction of Old St. Paul’s in apocalyptic terms: “the stones of St. Paul's flew like [grenades], the melting lead running down the streets in a stream, and the very pavements glowing with fiery redness, so as no horse nor man was able to tread on them.”

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Malcolm Cormack, A Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 30-31, N590.2 A83 (YCBA)

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