Artwork - The Destruction of the Houses of Lords and Commons by Fire on the 16th of October 1834

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Artwork
  • Title: The Destruction of the Houses of Lords and Commons by Fire on the 16th of October 1834
  • Artist: William Heath
  • Date: 1834--
  • Medium: Colour lithograph
  • Dimensions: 37.0cm (h) x 46.9cm (w) x - (d) x - (dia)
  • Categories: Buildings
  • Catalogue number: WOA 589
  • Description: This lithograph shows the Houses of Parliament ablaze on 16 October 1834. The subtitle proudly states that it was 'Drawn on stone by William Heath from a sketch taken by him by the light of the Flames, at the end of Abingdon Street'. Heath's sketch was probably made sometime after 8pm on the night of the fire, the light from which was so bright that in the dark it was possible to read the small print of a newspaper in Pedlar's Acre, a quarter of a mile away (where the Millennium Eye stands today) as if it were daytime. Heath's image is full of drama and incident and clearly shows the south-westerly wind blowing the blaze across the hapless ancient buildings. Nearby residents hang out of their windows to get a closer look, the fire engines are hard at work, and the famous mascot of the London Fire Engine Establishment, Chance the dog, can be spotted as a tiny figure barking under the plume of white smoke in the centre. Heath later painted a full-size portrait of Chance.
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