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Tuesday 1 November 2016

Wenceslaus Hollar’s (1658) etching of the Chapter House of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London

Wenceslaus Hollar (aka Wenzel Hollar; Václav Hollar) (1607–77)
“Domus Capitularis Sti Pauli a Meridie Prospectus” (Chapter House of St. Paul’s in London), 1658, published by William Dugdale (1605–86) in “History of St. Paul's Cathedral in London” (1658, p. 127).
Etching on fine laid paper trimmed to the image borderline.
Size: (sheet) 19.2 x 27.1 cm
Lettered at top centre with title, and with dedication in cartouche, and at bottom "W. Hollar delineavit et Sculpsit". At top left the number 127.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“View of the Chapter House in St Paul's, in the cloister; its buttresses unfinished at the top, the nave of the cathedral behind; a cartouche with arms and dedication at top left; illustration to page 127 of William Dugdale's (1605–86) 'The History of St Paul's Cathedral in London' (London, 1658)” (

Pennington 1982 1023.I (Pennington, Richard, “A descriptive catalogue of the etched work of Wenceslaus Hollar”, Cambridge, 1982;
New Hollstein (German) 1693.I (Hollar) (Hollstein, F W H, “The New Hollstein: German engravings, etchings and woodcuts 1400-1700”, Amsterdam, 1996);
Adams 1983 8.33 (Adams, Bernard, “London Illustrated 1604-1850: a survey and index of topographical books and their plates”, London, Library Association, 1983).

Condition: good impression but with some wear to the plate, trimmed to the image borderline. The sheet is appropriately age toned but in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, folds, foxing or significant stains). 

I am selling this seldom seen, old master etching for a total cost of AU$148 (currently US$113.49/EUR103.20/GBP92.68 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this historically important and visually arresting print by one of the most famous of all etchers, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

Hollar was a prolific printmaker in that he executed over 2600 prints. This amazing output suggests a strong and disciplined work ethic and this perception of a hard worker is validated by one of Hollar’s acquaintances, Francis Place, who described him as “a very passionate man easily moved. He has often told me, he was always uneasie [sic] if not at work” (“The Walpole Society 18 [1930] [Vertue’s note books, 1] 34–35).

Beyond Hollar’s impressive body of work, the rigour of his discipline also extends to each individual print. What I mean by this comment is that his etchings—like this superb example—are executed using extremely fine lines; so fine, in fact, that to see the quality of the line work a magnifying glass is needed. When I looked closely at this print, for instance, what I had assumed to be fine engraved lines turned out to be fine etched lines. Hollar is an incredibly good printmaker!

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