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Print - N.W. View of the Fair on the River Thames during the Great Frost 1683/4 from an Original Drawing by Wyke in the British Museum. Taken near Temple Stairs
  • N.W. View of the Fair on the River Thames during the Great Frost 1683/4 from an Original Drawing by Wyke in the British Museum. Taken near Temple Stairs
    Wilkinson, Robert, born 1758 - died 1825
  • Enlarge image

N.W. View of the Fair on the River Thames during the Great Frost 1683/4 from an Original Drawing by Wyke in the British Museum. Taken near Temple Stairs

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    London (printed)

  • Date:

    01/01/1825 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Wilkinson, Robert, born 1758 - died 1825 (publishers)
    Stow, James (engravers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hand-coloured engraving

  • Museum number:

    S.247-2016

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Frost Fairs were regular occurrences on the River Thames in London between the 17th and the early 19th centuries when the river froze so solidly that large structures could safely be erected there, fires could be lit, and horses could draw carts across the ice, as depicted in this image. The old London Bridge which pulled down in 1825 effectively acted as a weir and prevented tides so that the river above it was more susceptible to freezing. John Evelyn called the fair, which lasted from late December 1683 to early February 1684: 'a bacchanalian triumph or carnival on the water', noting in his diary, 9th January 1684:

'I went crosse the Thames on the ice, now become so thick as to beare not onely streetes of boothes, in which they roasted meate, and had divers shops of wares, quite acrosse as in a towne, but coaches, carts, and horses passed over.' On 23rd January he added: 'The frost continuing more and more severe, the Thames before London was still planted with boothes in formal streetes, all sorts of trades and shops furnish'd and full of commodities, even to a printing presse, where ye people and ladyes tooke a fancy to have their names printed, and the day and yeare set down, when printed on the Thames: this humour tooke so universally, that 'twas estimated the printer gain'd £5. a day, for printing a line onely, at six-pence a name, beside what he got by ballads, &c.'

Physical description

Hand-coloured engraving depicting groups of people and horses and carts on the ice with Temple Stairs in the foreground, left; a boat being pulled along by men in the foreground, right; groups of stalls in the middle distance, and London Bridge in the distance. With printed title below.

Place of Origin

London (printed)

Date

01/01/1825 (printed)

Artist/maker

Wilkinson, Robert, born 1758 - died 1825 (publishers)
Stow, James (engravers)

Materials and Techniques

Hand-coloured engraving

Dimensions

Height: 27.00 cm, Width: 36.00 cm

Descriptive line

North West view of the Frost Fair on the Thames near Temple stairs 1683-4. Hand coloured engraving by James Stow (1770-c.1823) after the original by Jan Wyke (1652-1700), published in 1825 by Robert Wilkinson (1758-1825)

Materials

Printing ink; Watercolour; Paper

Techniques

Printing; Engraving (printing process)

Categories

Prints; Fairs; Entertainment & Leisure

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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