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Cornelis Bol (fl.1636-c.1666)
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Cornelis Bol (fl.1636-c.1666)

View of the Thames from Southwark, looking towards the Tower of London and London Bridge

Details
Cornelis Bol (fl.1636-c.1666)
View of the Thames from Southwark, looking towards the Tower of London and London Bridge
oil on canvas
26¾ x 38 (67.9 x 96.5 cm.)
Provenance
John Chetwynd-Talbot, 21st Earl of of Shrewsbury and Waterford.
Exhibited
Bath, Assembly Rooms, International Art Treasures, 1973, p. 2, no. 8, pl. 51.
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Lot Essay

The pool of London spans the widest reach of the Thames around which the Romans first founded the city circa 33 AD, and is now divided into an Upper and Lower Pool by Tower Bridge. For centuries it formed the centre of maritime trade and commerce to and from London.

This picture is a rare view showing the Pool before the riverscape was dramatically altered by the Great Fire of London in 1666. To the left can be seen the Church of St. Saviour's, now Southwark Cathedral, and Old London Bridge. The Tower of London can be seen to the right, with a diverse range of English and Dutch shipping on the Thames.

Cornelis Bol, born around 1589, was from a family of painters originating in Mechelen, who later settled in Antwerp. Bol was active as an artist in London, and he and his wife were members of the Dutch Church in London in 1636. The present work is similar to a view of the Thames also showing the Tower of London by Bol recorded in the collection of the diarist John Evelyn, and probably commissioned around 1660 along with two other Thames views of Arundel House and Somerset House (see Walpole Society, 'Vertue Note Books', vol.IV, p.53). The Evelyn version was exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1953-54, and in 1960-61 at the Royal Academy Exhibition of The Age of Charles II, no.830. Another version is at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, signed 'C.B.'.
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