One of the most iconic images of post-Renaissance London has been redrawn to show the capital’s modern landscape, as part of commemorative events to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
Artist Robin Reynolds has created a pen and ink version of Claes Jansz. Visscher’s 1616 engraving of London, which will be on show at Guildhall Art Gallery from Saturday 20 February from 10am and displayed alongside Visscher’s original image.
Reynolds’ single drawing has been arranged to fit the Visscher landscape, which stretches from Whitehall to St. Katharine’s Dock on four large plates. Visscher’s engraving was published in the year of Shakespeare’s death and in recognition of the 400th anniversary this year, the new drawing includes references to his 37 plays, three major poetic works, and the sonnets.
Sonia Solicari, curator of Guildhall Art Gallery, said: “Visscher’s engraving is not only one of the most recognisable and historic images of London, it is also one of the most important, because few visual records exist of the City before much of it was destroyed by the Great Fire in 1666. I am delighted that Robin Reynolds, who set himself a huge challenge, has allowed us to display his work at Guildhall Art Gallery, and that it will be presented next to Visscher’s original. Visitors to the art gallery will certainly enjoy comparing the 400-year old engraving to details in the new work, and trying to spot Robin’s references to the plays, poetry and sonnets.”
Artist Robin Reynolds said: “The project was prompted initially by what I felt was a similarity between my style and Visscher’s and subsequently, by the coincidence of landmark anniversaries in 2016. After two years’ work, I’m thrilled and grateful to Guildhall Art Gallery for granting the finished piece such exposure in this prestigious venue. I hope that, as they explore the new panorama, visitors to the art gallery will be able to share some of the fun that I have had compiling it.”
Visscher Redrawn: 1616 – 2016 runs from 20 February to 20 November at Guildhall Art Gallery and forms part of a programme of special events and exhibitions to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, which includes the Shakespeare Son et Lumière show in Guildhall Yard on 4 and 5 March. For full details, please visit www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/visscher and www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/shakespeare400