The ‘Rhinebeck’ Panorama of London, 1807-11
with an introduction by Ralph Hyde and keys by Peter Jackson, (see also A London Panorama, c.1800 Resurrected, by Ralph Hyde, LTR XXIV)
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Cleaning out the attic of her late uncle’s house in Rhinebeck NY, a Canadian housewife discovered this panorama – in a barrel. It was in a filthy state but spread out on the floor before her emerged one of the most stunning water-colour drawings of London ever seen.
The panoramic image shows a bird’s eye view looking west from a position above the middle of the River Thames, approximately at the current location of Tower Bridge, with the view spanning Southwark to the left and the City of London to the right. Ships are depicted on the river in the Pool of London, downstream of London Bridge, with scenes from everyday city life, such as a building on fire in Bermondsey to the left, a funeral at Southwark’s St John Horsleydown, traffic crossing the bridges over the river, the pagoda at Kew Gardens, Westminster Abbey, the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral and the spires of other city churches, shot towers and windmills, the Tower of London where a cannon is being fired, and a kite being flown at Tower Hill. One ship in the third panel is a hulk, with two masts removed, used to receive men press-ganged by the Royal Navy. Windsor Castle can be seen in the distance