Sketched details of a gate pier surmounted by an orb, Chelsea, London
Charles Robert Cockerell
RIBA no. SD/127/22
RIBA Library Drawings Collection
This drawing was formerly part of an album entitled 'Ichnographia Publica', compiled by Charles Cockerell (1788 - 1863) from 1825 as a private 'scrapbook' containing measured drawings, notes and studies relating to the architecture of public buildings. Amongst the album's contents were a group of studies of churches, palaces, public and domestic buildings by (or which were then believed to be by) Wren that he used to develop, 'A Tribute to Sir Christopher Wren'. Christopher Wren designed the Royal Hospital, Chelsea in 1692, and the gate pier shown here may relate to this structure.
The album attests to Cockerell's profound admiration of Wren's architecture and a sympathy for English Baroque architecture which is rare for the period. Cockerell had an intimate knowledge of Wren's buildings - he was for many years Surveyor to the Fabric of St Paul's Cathedral - and he borrowed and used in his own designs architectural features from the Wren buildings he studied. The drawings are significant as fine examples of Cockerell's draughtsmanship and as a demonstration of his pioneering appreciation of Wren's architecture. They are also a valuable topographical record of the buildings which they depict, many of which - especially the Wren City churches - have been demolished or otherwise altered since Cockerell's day.
This drawing can be found in RIBA Print Room Box 'Exploring Skylines'.