Upon Westminster Hall

Upon Westminster Hall. © Parliamentary Art Collection, WOA 3783

The Bavarian George Scharf was a well-known landscape artist working in London in the 1830s. He climbed up to the roof of Westminster Hall to create this scene in the days after the fire.

In this bird's-eye view facing east the scale of the damage to St Stephen's Chapel and the cloister is evident. A fire pump is still in action damping down the embers in the cloister, and dazed Palace residents wander through the devastated shell of the old House of Commons. Salvaged items from the chapel have been abandoned in the gutters and a discarded fire hose lies on the ground.

Scharf originally intended this as the left hand half of a panoramic diptych, a two-part picture designed to be wrapped around the viewer as an immersive experience.

Image © Parliamentary Art Collection, WOA 3783

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