Gallery

Gallery: 
Attributed to Stephen Wiltshire, 1974-
An Aerial View of London, showing Westminster, Lambeth and Southwark beyond
Aerial of London, Westminster Lambeth & Southwark
oil on canvas
35 x 42 in. (89.05 x 107 cm.)

Notes

Westminster  is an area of central London within the City of Westminster, part of the West End, on the north bank of the River Thames. Westminster's concentration of visitor attractions and historic landmarks, one of the highest in London, includes the Palace of WestminsterBuckingham PalaceWestminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral.

Historically the area lay within St Margaret's parish, City & Liberty of Westminster, Middlesex.

The name Westminster originated from the informal description of the abbey church and royal peculiar of St Peter's (Westminster Abbey), literally West of the City of London, indeed until the Reformation there was a reference to the 'East Minster' at Minories (Holy Trinity Priory, Aldgate) east of the City; the abbey was part of the royal palace that had been created here by Edward the Confessor. It has been the home of the permanent institutions of England's government continuously since about 1200 (High Middle Ages' Plantagenet times), from 1707 the UK government instead, and is now the seat of British government.

In a government context, Westminster often refers to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, located in the UNESCO World HeritagePalace of Westminster - also known as the Houses of Parliament. The closest tube stations are WestminsterSt James's Park on the JubileeCircle, and District lines.

The area is the centre of UK government, with Parliament in the Palace of Westminster and most of the major Government ministriesknown as Whitehall, itself the site of the royal palace that replaced that at Westminster.

Within the area is Westminster School, a major public school which grew out of the Abbey, and the University of Westminster, attended by over 20,000 students. Bounding Westminster to the north is Green Park, a Royal Park of London.

The name describes an area no more than 1 mile (1.6 km) from Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster immediately to the west of the River Thames.The settlement grew up around the palace and abbey, as a service area for them. The need for a parish church, St Margaret's Westminster for the servants of the palace and of the abbey who could not worship there indicates that it had a population as large as that of a small village. It became larger and in the Georgian period became connected through urban ribbon development with the City along the Strand. It did not become a viable local government unit until created as a civil parishHenry VIII's Reformation in the early 16th century abolished the Abbey and established a Cathedral - thus the parish ranked as a "City", although it was only a fraction of the size of the City of London and the Borough of Southwark at that time.Indeed, the Cathedral and diocesan status of the church lasted only from 1539 to 1556, but the "city" status remained for a mere parish within Middlesex. As such it is first known to have had two Members of Parliament in 1545 as a new Parliamentary Borough, centuries after the City of London and Southwark were enfranchised.

The historic core of Westminster is the former Thorney Island on which Westminster Abbey was built. The abbey became the traditional venue of the coronation of the kings and queens of England from that of Harold Godwinson (1066) onwards. From about 1200, near the abbey, the Palace of Westminster became the principal royal residence, marked by the transfer of royal treasury and financial records to Westminster from Winchester. Later the palace housed the developing Parliament and England's law courts. Thus London developed two focal points: the City of London (financial/economic) and Westminster (political and cultural).The monarchs later moved to St James' Palace and the Palace of Whitehall a little towards the north-east, and eventually to Buckingham Palace and other palaces. The main law courts have since moved to the Royal Courts of JusticeCharles Booth's poverty map showing Westminster in 1889 recorded the full range of income and capital brackets living in adjacent streets within the area; its central western area had become (by 1850) (the) Devil's Acre in the southern flood channel ravine of the Tyburn (stream), yet along Victoria Street and other small streets and squares had the highest colouring of social class in London, yellow/gold. Westminster has shed the abject poverty with the clearance of this slum and with drainage improvement, but there is a typical Central London property distinction within the area which is very acute, epitomised by grandiose 21st-century developments, architectural high-point listed buildings and nearby social housing (mostly non-council housing) buildings of the Peabody Trustfounded by philanthropist George Peabody

Thus "Westminster", with its focus in public life from early history, is casually used as a metonym for Parliament and the political community of the United Kingdom generally. (The civil service is similarly referred to by the northern sub-neighbourhood it inhabits, "Whitehall".) "Westminster" is consequently also used in reference to the Westminster system, the parliamentary model of democratic government that has evolved in the United Kingdom and for those other nations, particularly in the Commonwealth of Nations and other parts of the former British Empire that adopted it.

The term "Westminster Village", sometimes used in the context of British politics, does not refer to a geographical area at all; employed especially in the phrase "Westminster Village gossip", it denotes a supposedly close social circle of members of parliament, political journalists, so-called spin doctors and others connected to events in the Palace of Westminster and Government ministries.

Lambeth  is a London borough in south London, England, which forms part of Inner London. Its name was recorded in 1062 as Lambehitha ("landing place for lambs") and in 1255 as Lambeth. The geographical centre of London is at Frazier Street near Lambeth North tube station, though nearby Charing Cross on the other side of the Thames in the City of Westminster is traditionally considered the centre of London. Lambeth was part of the large, ancient parish of Lambeth St Mary, the site of the archepiscopal Lambeth Palace, in the hundred of Brixton in the county of Surrey.It was an elongated north-south parish with 2 miles (3.2 km) of River Thames frontage opposite the cities of London and Westminster. Lambeth became part of the Metropolitan Police District in 1829. It remained a parish for Poor Law purposes after the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, and was governed by a vestry after the introduction of the Metropolitan Board of Works in 1855. Until 1889, Surrey included the present-day London borough of Lambeth. When it drew the boundaries for the London boroughs, the government initially suggested that the Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth and the Metropolitan Borough of Southwark be merged into a new borough; the southern and eastern sections of the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth (including ClaphamStreatham and Tooting) would form another. South Shields town clerk R.S. Young was commissioned to make final recommendations to the government on the shape of the future London boroughs, and he noted that the Wandsworth council opposed the partition of their borough. However, Wandsworth's suggestion to merge Lambeth with the Metropolitan Borough of Battersea was rejected by both councils involved. Young believed that residents of Clapham and Streatham would be more familiar with Brixton than with Wandsworth, and recommended a new borough formed from the Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth and six wards and portions of two others from the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth.

Southwark  is a district of Central London and part of the London Borough of Southwark. Situated 1 12 miles (2.4 km) east of Charing Cross, it forms one of the oldest parts of London and fronts the River Thames to the north. It historically formed an ancient borough in the county of Surrey, made up of a number of parishes, which increasingly came under the influence and jurisdiction of the City of London. As an inner district of London, Southwark experienced rapid depopulation during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is now at an advanced stage of regeneration and is the location of the City Hall offices of the Greater London Authority. Southwark had a population of 306,745 in 2015.  

The name Suthriganaweorc or Suthringa geweorche is recorded for the area in the 10th-century Anglo-Saxon document known as the Burghal Hidage and means "fort of the men of Surrey" or "the defensive work of the men of Surrey". Southwark is recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book as Sudweca. The name means "southern defensive work" and is formed from the Old Englishsūþ (south) and weorc (work). The southern location is in reference to the City of London to the north, Southwark being at the southern end of London Bridge. Until 1889, the county of Surrey included the present-day London Borough of Southwark, yet the name has been used for various areas of civil administration, including the ancient Borough of Southwark, the Metropolitan Borough of Southwark and the current London Borough of Southwark. The ancient borough of Southwark was also known simply as The Borough—or Borough—and this name, in distinction from 'The City', has persisted as an alternative name for the area. Southwark was also simultaneously referred to as the ward of Bridge Without when administered by the City (from 1550 to 1900) and as an aldermanry until 1978.

 

Southwark is sited on a previously marshy area south of the River Thames. Recent excavation has revealed prehistoric activity including evidence of early ploughingburial mounds and ritual activity. The area was originally a series of islands in the River Thames. This formed the best place to bridge the Thames and the area became an important part of Londinium, owing its importance to its position as the endpoint of the Roman London Bridge. Two Roman roadsStane Street and Watling Street, met at Southwark in what is now Borough High Street. Archaeological work at Tabard Street in 2004 discovered a plaque with the earliest reference to 'Londoners' from the Roman period on it. Londinium was abandoned at the end of the Roman occupation in the early 5th century and both the city and its bridge collapsed in decay. Archaeologically, evidence of settlement is replaced by a largely featureless soil called the Dark Earth which probably (although this is contested) represents an urban area abandoned.

Southwark appears to recover only during the time of King Alfred and his successors. Sometime about 886, the burh of Southwark was created and the Roman city area reoccupied. It was probably fortified to defend the bridge and hence the reemerging City of London to the north. This defensive role is highlighted by the use of the bridge in 1016 as a defence against King Sweyn and his son King Cnut by Ethelred the Unready and again, in 1066, against Duke William the Conqueror. He failed to force the bridge during the Norman conquest of England, but Southwark was devastated.

Southwark appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as held by several Surrey manors. Its assets were: Bishop Odo of Bayeux held the monastery (the site of modern Southwark Cathedral) and the tideway – which still exists as St Mary Overie dock; the King owned the church (probably St Olave's) and its tidal stream (St Olave's Dock); the dues of the waterway or mooring place were shared between King William I and Earl Godwin; the King also had the toll of the strand; and 'men of Southwark' had the right to 'a haw and its toll'. Southwark's value to the King was £16. Much of Southwark was originally owned by the church—the greatest reminder of monastic London is Southwark Cathedral, originally the priory of St Mary Overie.

During the early Middle AgesSouthwark developed and was one of the four Surrey towns which returned Members of Parliament for the first commons assembly in 1295. An important market occupied the High Street from some time in the 13th century, which was controlled by the City's officers—it was later removed in order to improve traffic to the Bridge, under a separate Trust by Act of Parliament of 1756 as the Borough Market on the present site. The area was renowned for its inns, especially The Tabard, from which Geoffrey Chaucer's pilgrims set off on their journey in The Canterbury Tales.

Just west of the Bridge was the Liberty of the Clink manor, which was never controlled by the City, technically held under the Bishopric of Winchester's nominal authority. This area therefore became the entertainment district for London, and it was also a red-light area. In 1587, Southwark's first playhouse theatre, The Rose, opened. The Rose was set up by Philip Henslowe, and soon became a popular place of entertainment for all classes of Londoners. Both Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, two of the finest writers of the Elizabethan age, worked at the Rose.

In 1599 the Globe Theatre, in which Shakespeare was a shareholder, was erected on the Bankside in the Liberty of the Clink. It burned down in 1613, and was rebuilt in 1614, only to be closed by the Puritans in 1642 and subsequently pulled down not long thereafter. A modern replica called Shakespeare's Globe, has been built near the original site. Southwark was also a favourite area for entertainment such as bull and bear-baiting. The impresario in the later Elizabethan period for these entertainments was Shakespeare's colleague Edward Alleyn, who left many local charitable endowments, most notably Dulwich College.

On 26 May 1676, ten years after the Great Fire of London, a great fire broke out, which continued for 17 hours before houses were blown up to create fire breaks. King Charles II and his brother, JamesDuke of York, were involved in the effort .There was also a famous fair in Southwark which took place near the Church of St George the Martyr. William Hogarth depicted this fair in his engraving of Southwark Fair (1733).Southwark was also the location of several prisons, including those of the Crown or Prerogative Courts, the Marshalsea and King's Bench prisons, that of the local manors courts e.g. Borough CompterThe Clink, and the Surrey county gaol originally housed at the White Lion Inn (also called informally the Borough Gaol) and eventually at Horsemonger Lane Gaol.One other local family is of note, the Harvards. John Harvard went to the local parish free school of St Saviour's and on to Cambridge University. He migrated to the MassachusettsColony and left his library and the residue of his will to the new college there, named after him as its first benefactor. Harvard University maintains a link, having paid for a memorial chapel within Southwark Cathedral (his family's parish church), and where its UK-based alumni hold services. John Harvard's mother's house is in Stratford upon Avon.

 

Artist biography

Stephen Wiltshire MBEHon.FSAI, Hon.FSSAA (born 24 April 1974) is a British architectural artist. He is known for his ability to draw from memory a landscape after seeing it just once. His work has gained worldwide popularity. In 2006, Wiltshire was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to art.[2] In the same year, he opened a permanent gallery on the Royal Opera Arcade in London.  

Stephen Wiltshire was born in London, England, in 1974 to Caribbean parents, His father, Colvin, was a native of Barbados, and his mother, Geneva, is a native of St. Lucia. He grew up in Little VeniceMaida Vale, London. Wiltshire was mute when young. At the age of three, he was diagnosed with autism. The same year, his father died in a motorbike accident.

At the age of five, Wiltshire was sent to Queensmill School in London where he expressed interest in drawing. His early illustrations depicted animals and cars; he is still extremely interested in American cars and is said to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of them. When he was about seven, Wiltshire became fascinated with sketching landmark London buildings. After being shown a book of photos depicting the devastation wrought by earthquakes, he began to create detailed architectural drawings of imaginary cityscapes. He began to communicate through his art. The instructors at Queensmill School would deal with his lack of verbal communication skills by temporarily taking away his art supplies so that he would be forced to learn to ask for them. Stephen responded by making sounds and eventually uttered his first word—"paper." His teachers encouraged his drawing, and with their aid Wiltshire learned to speak fully at the age of nine.

In June 2015, the BBC’s Lucy Ash reported: "Soon people outside the school started noticing Stephen's gift and aged eight he landed his first commission - a sketch of Salisbury Cathedral for the former Prime Minister Edward Heath". When he was ten, Wiltshire drew a sequence of drawings of London landmarks, one for each letter, that he called a "London Alphabet".

In 1987, Wiltshire was part of the BBC programme The Foolish Wise OnesDrawings, a collection of his works, was published that same year.

Between 1995 and his graduation in 1998, Wiltshire attended the City and Guilds of London Art School in KenningtonLambeth, South London. Wiltshire can look at a subject once and then draw an accurate and detailed picture of it. He frequently draws entire cities from memory, based on single, brief helicopter rides. For example, he produced a detailed drawing of four square miles of London after a single helicopter ride above that city. His nineteen-foot-long drawing of 305 square miles of New York City is based on a single twenty-minute helicopter ride. He also draws fictional scenes, for example, St. Paul's Cathedral surrounded by flames. Wiltshire's early books include Drawings (1987), Cities (1989), Floating Cities (1991), and Stephen Wiltshire's American Dream (1993). His third book, Floating Cities (Michael Joseph, 1991), was number one on the Sunday Times best-seller list.

In 2003, a retrospective of his work, 'Not a Camera: the Unique Vision of Stephen Wiltshire', was held in the Orleans House gallery in Twickenham, London.

In May 2005 Wiltshire produced his longest ever panoramic memory drawing of Tokyo on a 32.8-foot-long (10.0 m) canvas within seven days following a helicopter ride over the city. Since then he has drawn Rome, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Madrid, Dubai,Jerusalem and London on giant canvasses. When Wiltshire took the helicopter ride over Rome, he drew it in such great detail that he drew the exact number of columns in the Pantheon.

In October 2009 Wiltshire completed the last work in the series of panoramas, an 18-foot (5.5 m) memory drawing of his "spiritual home", New York City.Following a 20-minute helicopter ride over the city he sketched the view of Manhattan, the Hudson shoreline of New Jersey, the Financial DistrictEllis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and Brooklyn over five days at the Pratt Institute, a college of art and design in New York City.

In 2010, he made a panorama of Sydney to raise funds for and awareness of Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect). He visited Bermuda National Gallery where the sale of his donated drawing of Hamilton raised over $22,000. In June 2010, Christie's auctioned off an oil painting of his "Times Square at Night".

Wiltshire started a tour of China in September 2010, with a first project taking him to Shanghai.

A 2011 project in New York City involved Wiltshire's creation of a 250-foot (76 m) long panoramic memory drawing of New York which is now displayed on a giant billboard at John F. Kennedy International Airport. It is a part of a global advertising campaign for the Swiss bank UBS that carries the theme "We will not rest", The New York Times reported.

In July 2014, Wiltshire drew an aerial panorama of the Singapore skyline from memory after a brief helicopter ride, taking five days to complete the 1 x 4m artwork. The artwork was presented to President Tony Tan as the Singapore Press Holding (SPH)'s gift to the nation in celebration of Singapore's 50th birthday in 2015, and will be displayed at Singapore City Gallery, visitor centre of the country's urban planning authority, Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Wiltshire's work has been the subject of many TV documentaries. Renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks wrote about him in a chapter on prodigies in his book An Anthropologist on Mars.

In 1989, Wiltshire appeared on the cover of You magazine with actor Dustin Hoffman, who had portrayed autistic savant Raymond Babbitt in the 1988 Oscar-winning film, Rain Man, which Wiltshire considers to be one of his favorite movies. In 2006, Wiltshire was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to art. In September 2006 Wiltshire opened his permanent gallery in the Royal Opera Arcade, Pall Mall, London. On 15 February 2008, ABC News named him Person of the Week. .In July 2009 he acted as ambassador of the Children's Art Day in the United Kingdom.In 2011, Wiltshire was made an honorary Fellow of the Society of Architectural Illustration (SAI). In January 2015 Wiltshire was also made an honorary Fellow of The Scottish Association of Architectural Artists.