Artwork - St. Stephen\'s Chapel Ruins, after the Fire, 1834

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  • Title: St. Stephen\'s Chapel Ruins, after the Fire, 1834
  • Artist: G Moore
  • Date: 1835--
  • Medium: Watercolour
  • Categories: Buildings
  • Catalogue number: WOA 1281
  • Description: G. Moore\'s watercolour shows St. Stephen\'s Chapel in 1835 looking east, in ruins, after the destruction of the Palace of Westminster by fire in 1834.

    There were several chapels in the medieval Palace, but the principal one was St. Stephen\'s, begun by Edward I in the 1290s and refounded with a college of lay canons by his grandson, Edward III, in 1348. The glorious tracery of its stonework and the wall paintings illustrating the king and his family in devotion to the Virgin Mary were gradually hidden from the mid-sixteenth century onwards when the Chapel was converted for use as the House of Commons Chamber.

    At the end of the seventeenth century Christopher Wren lowered the ceiling and panelled the walls in wood, hiding its medieval glories to future generations. It was only with the fire of 1834 that the wonders of the Chapel were seen once again, to the astonishment of sightseers touring the ruins.
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