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Impressions of Hollar
England Again

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England Again



From 1652 to 1677


Hollar returned to England in 1652 and began working for the publisher John Ogilby and the antiquary Sir William Dugdale. Over the next twenty-five years he etched no fewer than 566 plates for them.

 

He produced many precise architectural renderings and topographical views for Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum (1655-1673). On his view of the east end of Lincoln Cathedral, prepared for volume 3 of Dugdale's Monasticon, Hollar signed himself "Scenographer Royal." Charles II had granted him the title following the Great Fire of 1666 in recognition of Hollar's work documenting parts of the city of London before and after its destruction.

 

Hollar's ultimate ambition to create a map of the city measuring ten feet by five feet was never realized. In a bid to secure subscriptions to finance the project, Hollar issued a prospectus describing his plans. The only surviving copy of "Propositions Concerning the Map of London and Westminster" is in the Folger Library. It served as a receipt to Sir Edward Walker for his subscription and bears Hollar's signature.

 

Wenceslaus Hollar died in London in 1677. The young Czech artist that the Earl of Arundel took to England in 1636 had spent forty years recording his impressions of the turbulent era in which he lived. His etchings permit us to witness the spectacle of coronations and executions, to pour over the detail of costumes, and to view a terrain that was shifting even as Hollar rendered it and that has since been irrevocably altered. Treasures from the Arundel art collection, buildings such as St. Paul's, and the city of London that Hollar knew, in the words of his contemporary, John Aubrey, "live now only in Mr. Hollar's etchings." The Earl of Arundel's "paper museum "took shape in the larger vision of the seventeenth-century antiquaries and in the visual documentation Wenceslaus Hollar provided for them.

 
Wenceslaus Hollar. East end of Lincoln Cathedral. From Dugdale, Monasticon Anglicanum. London, 1673. 



Additional Information

Sir William Dugdale (1605-1686): English antiquary and friend of Hollar's patron Thomas Howard, second earl of Arundel, Dugdale compiled one of the most significant histories of English religious houses, known as Monasticon Anglicanum.



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