Home » Museums and Art Galleries of London » The Museum of London acquires a large panorama of London by Pierre Prévost

The Museum of London acquires a large panorama of London by Pierre Prévost

A panoramic view of London, from the tower of St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster, by Pierre Prevost, Courtesy of Sotheby’s

The Museum of London has acquired a remarkable 20 feet wide panorama of London, painted around 1815 by the French artist Pierre Prévost (1764-1823). It is the preparatory watercolour for a lost, full-scale 30m diameter panorama which was exhibited in Paris in 1817.

A panoramic view of London, from the tower of St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster, by Pierre Prevost, Courtesy of Sotheby’s

The panorama was acquired at auction at Sotheby’s for £200,000. There is only one other work by this artist of a similar size and quality still in existence, a view of Constantinople, which is in the Louvre.

A panoramic view of London, from the tower of St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster, by Pierre Prevost, Courtesy of Sotheby’s

The panorama was painted as the Napoleonic Wars drew to a close, and gives an immersive 360° view of London as the Duke of Wellington would have known it. Looking from the tower of St Margaret’s, the church situated within the shadow of Westminster Abbey, we are presented with a sweeping view over a sunlit city. Dominating the foreground is the Abbey and the old Palace of Westminster (the Houses of Parliament), which burnt down in 1834, and includes the medieval House of Lords chamber, target of the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

A panoramic view of London, from the tower of St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster, by Pierre Prevost, Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Prévost made panoramas of many European cities, but this particular example is thought to have been created at the height of his career. His first panorama of London, now lost, was made when he visited the city during the Peace of Amiens in 1802. He is thought to have returned to London in 1815, shortly after the Battle of Waterloo, to create this amazing image of London.

A panoramic view of London, from the tower of St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster, by Pierre Prevost, Courtesy of Sotheby’s

The panorama provides a snapshot of London just after Waterloo and provides incredible detail of the Westminster area that would be transformed within 30 years of the painting. Unlike today, the panorama shows it was Westminster Abbey that dominated the skyline rather than the Houses of Parliament and the surrounding area is quite spacious with wide open spaces.

The panorama was acquired with the help of Art Fund, the Aldama Foundation and a group of individual donors, with additional support from Michael Spencer, the Leche Trust and other donors who wish to remain anonymous.

If you would like further information, visit the Museum of London website here

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