Artwork - Interior of Painted Chamber after the Fire 1834

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  • Title: Interior of Painted Chamber after the Fire 1834
  • Artist: T Clark
  • Medium: Watercolour
  • Categories: Buildings
  • Catalogue number: WOA 1638
  • Description: The destruction of the Painted Chamber was perhaps the greatest artistic loss of the fire that ravaged Parliament in 1834. One of the wonders of medieval Europe, it was named after its magnificent thirteenth-century wall paintings of biblical kings, virtues and vices, and the coronation of Edward the Confessor. Over the centuries these paintings were whitewashed, papered over, and forgotten. Rediscovered at the beginning of the nineteenth century, surveys of the paintings were undertaken by antiquaries which today remain the only record of what was there.

    It is tantalising to speculate what might have happened to the wonderful medieval art if the fire of 1834 had not occurred. Just a generation on, and the wall paintings - all destroyed in the fire - might have been fully restored to their original glory. Following the fire the sturdy medieval walls had a final gasp of life as the temporary House of Lords Chamber from 1835 to 1847, before being pulled down in 1851.

    Acquisition: Sir L. Harmsworth gift 1929.

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