Inigo Jones, Britannia Triumphans, Scene 1: English Houses with London and the Thames Afar Off, pen and brown ink, 1638

  • This is a pen and ink drawing made by the English architect and designer Inigo Jones
  • It is a design for a piece of theatre scenery that places us, the viewer, on a street with houses to our left and right, that tunnels our vision over the river Thames. Our gaze lands upon the building at the centre of the view of London in the distance
  • The building is Old St Paul's ­­– not the ‘famous’ large-domed cathedral we see in scenes of London today. This drawing was made before the great fire of London happened
  • Inigo Jones used single point perspective – a drawing device artists use to show how objects get smaller the further away they are. It can help an artist make a scene look realistic or more three dimensional on a flat piece of paper
  • Single point perspective leads the eye to one point on the horizon – the vanishing point. In this drawing, this point is where Old St Paul's stands
  • No matter where you are standing on this street, your eye follows the perspective to the same fixed point of view. Everyone will have the same point of view

Try this with your class

Print this drawing and using a ruler, demonstrate how the diagonal lines on the buildings to the left and right all recede or point towards Old St Paul's.

Discuss these in pairs or groups

  • Be a rebel - ignore the strong directed perspective in the drawing. Look around the composition: what else do you notice? Is there something else you find more interesting? Share this with your partner or in your group.
  • Use the drawing, which directs all viewers to the same fixed point in space to debate why it is a good idea to consider an object or an issue from different points of view in the world we live in today.

Curriculum links

PSHE, English, Art

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