Artwork - Panorama of the Ruins of the Old Palace of Westminster, 1834

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  • Title: Panorama of the Ruins of the Old Palace of Westminster, 1834
  • Artist: Mr George Scharf
  • Date: 1834--
  • Medium: Oil painting
  • Dimensions: 140cm (h) x 80.5cm (w) x - (d) x - (dia)
  • Categories: Buildings
  • Catalogue number: WOA 3793
  • Description: In Scharf\'s panoramic view of the cloisters and St. Stephen\'s Chapel the scale of the damage done to the old Houses of Parliament in the fire of 1834 is evident. Fascinated by construction and demolition of buildings, he rushed to this scene of devastation the morning after the fire when the embers were still burning and immediately started sketching. He sat on the roof of Westminster Hall each day for nearly three weeks in order to finish the painting

    From Scharf\'s journal it appears that the complete panorama was displayed on two separate canvases that were hinged together. This canvas, showing the area occupied by the House of Commons, is the larger of the two; the location of the other canvas is unknown. In order to achieve the illusory effect of the panorama, which is the purpose of its odd perspective, the canvas should be curved so that the roof of Westminster Hall, which appears on the far left, is behind the viewer, with St. Stephen\'s Chapel (on the far right of the canvas) in front.
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