London before the Great Fire
By SCOLARI, Stefano , 1629

LONDRA Per illustri ac celeberrimo et eloquentissimo Oratori Domino Marino ab Ocha Domino meo.

British Isles London
  • Author: SCOLARI, Stefano
  • Publication place: [Venice
  • Publisher: Stefano Scolari
  • Publication date: 1629].
  • Physical description: Copper engraving, printed on four sheets, joined, a few small tears, and some areas of loss skillfully reinstated in facsimile.
  • Dimensions: image: 390 by 2069mm (15.25 by 81.5 inches). Sheet: 427 by 2150mm (16.75 by 84.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 12497


Stefano Scolari’s rare and stunning panorama of London, showing the city before the Great Fire, extending from Whitehall to St Katherine-by-the-Tower.

Scolari’s print is based on an example by Nicolas Visscher printed in 1616, which was often used as a starting point for pre-Fire panoramas. Ralph Hyde identifies Scolari’s print as a later variant of Franco Vallegio’s interpretation of Visscher’s panorama, with the plate considerably reworked. It is rare to see a surviving panorama from this period: their size, and the fact that they were normally issued without wrappers, made them particularly vulnerable.

Although Scolari reworked the skyline, he retained the decoration in the sky. The title is held on a banderole by two angels, with two figures of Fame blowing trumpets bearing the coats of arms of the royal family and the City of London. The heads of executed criminals are visible on the gate to London Bridge. St Paul’s Cathedral appears in the pre-Fire state, without the Wren dome.

Stefano Scolari (fl.1643-1695) was an engraver and publisher working in Venice during the second half of the sixteenth century. He was well known for reworking the plates of other mapmakers.


  1. BM. Scouloudi, pp.29-30.