Richard Wilson

The Inner Temple after the Fire of 4 January 1737


Not on display

Richard Wilson 1713–1782
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 648 × 952 mm
frame: 865 × 1177 × 120 mm
Bequeathed by Richard and Catherine Garnons 1854

Display caption

This picture records the devastation caused by a fire that destroyed Crown-Office Row in the Inner Temple during the night of 4 January 1737, fortunately without loss of life. The group in the centre includes Frederick, Prince of Wales (in blue, wearing the Garter star), who had sent fifty soldiers to help the firemen and later came to inspect the scene himself.
Fires were a regular hazard in London and were fought with water pumps like the one just visible in the left foreground, It had to be filled by hand from the nearby Thames, which was at low tide when the fire began. This added delay, combined with a stiff breeze, made this conflagration more extensive than usual.

Gallery label, February 1997

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