Christopher Wren

Last updated

1701–1702

Memorandum November 28, 1660. These persons following according to the usual custom of most of them, met together at Gresham College to hear Mr Wren's lecture, viz. The Lord Brouncker, Mr Boyle, Mr Bruce, Sir Robert Moray, Sir Paule Neile, Dr Wilkins, Dr Goddard, Dr Petty, Mr Ball, Mr Rooke, Mr Wren, Mr Hill. And after the lecture was ended they did according to the usual manner, withdraw for mutual converse. [16]

In 1662, they proposed a society "for the promotion of Physico-Mathematicall Experimental Learning". This body received its Royal Charter from Charles II and "The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge" was formed. In addition to being a founder member of the Society, Wren was president of the Royal Society from 1680 to 1682. [6]

In 1661, Wren was elected Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford, and in 1669 he was appointed Surveyor of Works to Charles II. From 1661 until 1668 Wren's life was based in Oxford, although his attendance at meetings of the Royal Society meant that he had to make periodic trips to London. [14]

The main sources for Wren's scientific achievements are the records of the Royal Society. His scientific works ranged from astronomy, optics, the problem of finding longitude at sea, cosmology, mechanics, microscopy, surveying, medicine and meteorology. He observed, measured, dissected, built models and employed, invented and improved a variety of instruments. [17]

1665–1723

It was probably around this time that Sir Christopher Wren was drawn into redesigning a battered St Paul's Cathedral. Making a trip to Paris in 1665, Wren studied architecture, which had reached a climax of creativity, and perused the drawings of Bernini, the great Italian sculptor and architect, who himself was visiting Paris at the time. Returning from Paris, he made his first design for St Paul's. A week later, however, the Great Fire destroyed two-thirds of the city. Wren submitted his plans for rebuilding the city to King Charles II, although they were never adopted. With his appointment as King's Surveyor of Works in 1669, he had a presence in the general process of rebuilding the city, but was not directly involved with the rebuilding of houses or companies' halls. Wren was personally responsible for the rebuilding of 51 churches; however, it is not necessarily true to say that each of them represented his own fully developed design.[ citation needed ]

Wren was knighted on 14 November 1673. [18] This honour was bestowed on him after his resignation from the Savilian chair in Oxford, by which time he had already begun to make his mark as an architect, both in services to the Crown and in playing an important part in rebuilding London after the Great Fire.[ citation needed ]

Additionally, he was sufficiently active in public affairs to be returned as Member of Parliament on four occasions. [19] Wren first stood for Parliament in a by-election in 1667 for the Cambridge University constituency, losing by six votes to Sir Charles Wheler. [20] He was unsuccessful again in a by-election for the Oxford University constituency in 1674, losing to Thomas Thynne. [21] At his third attempt Wren was successful, and he sat for Plympton Erle during the Loyal Parliament of 1685 to 1687. [22] Wren was returned for New Windsor on 11 January 1689 in the general election, but his election was declared void on 14 May 1689. [23] He was elected again for New Windsor on 6 March 1690, but this election was declared void on 17 May 1690. [24] Over a decade later he was elected unopposed for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis at the November 1701 general election. He retired at the general election the following year. [25]

Wren's career was well established by 1669, and it may have been his appointment as Surveyor of the King's Works early that year that persuaded him that he could finally afford to marry. In 1669, the 37-year-old Wren married his childhood neighbour, the 33-year-old Faith Coghill, daughter of Sir John Coghill of Bletchingdon. Little is known of Faith, but a love letter from Wren survives, which reads, in part:

I have sent your Watch at last & envy the felicity of it, that it should be soe near your side & soe often enjoy your Eye. ... .but have a care for it, for I have put such a spell into it; that every Beating of the Balance will tell you 'tis the Pulse of my Heart, which labors as much to serve you and more trewly than the Watch; for the Watch I beleeve will sometimes lie, and sometimes be idle & unwilling ... but as for me you may be confident I shall never ... [26]

This brief marriage produced two children: Gilbert, born October 1672, who suffered from convulsions and died at about 18 months old, and Christopher, born February 1675. The younger Christopher was trained by his father to be an architect. It was this Christopher that supervised the topping out ceremony of St Paul's in 1710 and wrote the famous Parentalia, or, Memoirs of the family of the Wrens. Faith Wren died of smallpox on 3 September 1675. She was buried in the chancel of St Martin-in-the-Fields beside the infant Gilbert. A few days later Wren's mother-in-law, Lady Coghill, arrived to take the infant Christopher back with her to Oxfordshire to raise.[ citation needed ]

Wren, portrait c.1690 by John Closterman Christopher Wren.jpeg
Wren, portrait c.1690 by John Closterman

In 1677, 17 months after the death of his first wife, Wren remarried, this time to Jane Fitzwilliam, daughter of William FitzWilliam, 2nd Baron FitzWilliam, [27] and his wife Jane Perry, the daughter of a prosperous London merchant.[ citation needed ]

She was a mystery to Wren's friends and companions. Robert Hooke, who often saw Wren two or three times every week, had, as he recorded in his diary, never even heard of her, and was not to meet her till six weeks after the marriage. [28] As with the first marriage, this too produced two children: a daughter Jane (1677–1702); and a son William, "Poor Billy" born June 1679, who was developmentally delayed.[ citation needed ]

Like the first, this second marriage was also brief. Jane Wren died of tuberculosis in September 1680. She was buried alongside Faith and Gilbert in the chancel of St Martin-in-the-Fields. Wren was never to marry again; he lived to be over 90 years old and of those years was married only nine.[ citation needed ]

Bletchingdon was the home of Wren's brother-in-law William Holder, who was rector of the local church. Holder had been a Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford. An intellectual of considerable ability, he is said to have been the figure who introduced Wren to arithmetic and geometry. [29]

Wren's later life was not without criticisms and attacks on his competence and his taste. In 1712, the Letter Concerning Design of Anthony Ashley Cooper, third Earl of Shaftesbury, circulated in manuscript. Proposing a new British style of architecture, Shaftesbury censured Wren's cathedral, his taste and his long-standing control of royal works. Although Wren was appointed to the Fifty New Churches Commission in 1711, he was left only with nominal charge of a board of works when the surveyorship started in 1715. On 26 April 1718, on the pretext of failing powers, he was dismissed in favour of William Benson. [30]

In 1713, he bought the manor of Wroxall, Warwickshire, from the Burgoyne family, to which his son Christopher retired in 1716 after losing his post as Clerk of Works. [31] Several of Wren's descendants would be buried there in the Church of St Leonard.

Death

Crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral, Wren's memorial on the left Crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral with tomb of Christopher Wren.jpg
Crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral, Wren's memorial on the left

The Wren family estate was at The Old Court House in the area of Hampton Court. He had been given a lease on the property by Queen Anne in lieu of salary arrears for building St Paul's. [32] For convenience Wren also leased a house on St James's Street in London. According to a 19th-century legend, he would often go to London to pay unofficial visits to St Paul's, to check on the progress of "my greatest work". On one of these trips to London, at the age of ninety, he caught a chill which worsened over the next few days. On 25 February 1723 a servant who tried to awaken Wren from his nap found that he had died. [33]

Wren was laid to rest on 5 March 1723. His body was placed in the southeast corner of the crypt of St Paul's. There is a memorial to him in the crypt at St Paul's Cathedral. [34] beside those of his daughter Jane, his sister Susan Holder, and her husband William. [35] The plain stone plaque was written by Wren's eldest son and heir, Christopher Wren the Younger [36] The inscription, which is also inscribed in a circle of black marble on the main floor beneath the centre of the dome, reads:

SUBTUS CONDITUR HUIUS ECCLESIÆ ET VRBIS CONDITOR CHRISTOPHORUS WREN, QUI VIXIT ANNOS ULTRA NONAGINTA, NON SIBI SED BONO PUBLICO. LECTOR SI MONUMENTUM REQUIRIS CIRCUMSPICE Obijt XXV Feb: An°: MDCCXXIII Æt: XCI.

which translates from Latin as: [37]

Here in its foundations lies the architect of this church and city, Christopher Wren, who lived beyond ninety years, not for his own profit but for the public good. Reader, if you seek his monument – look around you. Died 25 Feb. 1723, age 91.

His obituary was published in the Post Boy No. 5244 London 2 March 1723: [38]

Sir Christopher Wren who died on Monday last in the 91st year of his age, was the only son of Dr. Chr. Wren, Dean of Windsor & Wolverhampton, Registar of the Garter, younger brother of Dr. Mathew (sic) Wren Ld Bp of Ely, a branch of the ancient family of Wrens of Binchester in the Bishoprick [ sic ] of Durham
1653. Elected from Wadham into fellowship of All Souls
1657. Professor of Astronomy Gresham College London
1660. Savilian Professor. Oxford
After 1666. Surveyor General for Rebuilding the Cathedral Church of St.Paul and the Parochial Churches & all other Public Buildings which he lived to finish
1669. Surveyor General till April 26. 1718
1680. President of the Royal Society
1698. Surveyor General & Sub Commissioner for Repairs to Westminster Abbey by Act of Parliament, continued till death.
His body is to be deposited in the Great Vault under the Dome of the Cathedral of St. Paul.

"The Curious and Entire Libraries of Sir Christopher Wren", and of his son, were auctioned by Langford and Cock at Mr Cock's in Covent Garden on 24–27 October 1748. [39]

Scientific career

Wren spent a portion of his scientific career at Gresham College Gresham College, Perspective, with key. Wellcome M0002426.jpg
Wren spent a portion of his scientific career at Gresham College

One of Wren's friends, Robert Hooke, scientist and architect and a fellow Westminster Schoolboy, said of him "Since the time of Archimedes there scarce ever met in one man in so great perfection such a mechanical hand and so philosophical mind."

When a fellow of All Souls, Wren constructed a transparent beehive for scientific observation; he began observing the moon, which was to lead to the invention of micrometers for the telescope. According to Parentalia (pp. 210–211), his solid model of the moon attracted the attention of the King who commanded Wren to perfect it and present it to him.

He contrived an artificial Eye, truly and dioptrically made (as large as a Tennis-Ball) representing the Picture as Nature makes it: The Cornea, and Crystalline were Glass, the other Humours, Water.

Parentalia, p.209

He experimented on terrestrial magnetism and had taken part in medical experiments while at Wadham College, performing the first successful injection of a substance into the bloodstream (of a dog). In Gresham College, he did experiments involving determining longitude through magnetic variation and through lunar observation to help with navigation, and helped construct a 35-foot (11 m) telescope with Sir Paul Neile. Wren also studied and improved the microscope and telescope at this time. He had also been making observations of the planet Saturn from around 1652 with the aim of explaining its appearance. His hypothesis was written up in De corpore saturni but before the work was published, Huygens presented his theory of the rings of Saturn. Immediately Wren recognised this as a better hypothesis than his own and De corpore saturni was never published. In addition, he constructed an exquisitely detailed lunar model and presented it to the king. In 1658, he found the length of an arc of the cycloid using an exhaustion proof based on dissections to reduce the problem to summing segments of chords of a circle which are in geometric progression.

A year into Wren's appointment as a Savilian Professor in Oxford, the Royal Society was created and Wren became an active member. As Savilian Professor, Wren studied mechanics thoroughly, especially elastic collisions and pendulum motions. He also directed his far-ranging intelligence to the study of meteorology: in 1662, he invented the tipping bucket rain gauge and, in 1663, designed a "weather-clock" that would record temperature, humidity, rainfall and barometric pressure. A working weather clock based on Wren's design was completed by Robert Hooke in 1679. [40]

In addition, Wren experimented on muscle functionality, hypothesizing that the swelling and shrinking of muscles might proceed from a fermentative motion arising from the mixture of two heterogeneous fluids. Although this is incorrect, it was at least founded upon observation and may mark a new outlook on medicine: specialisation.

Another topic to which Wren contributed was optics. He published a description of an engine to create perspective drawings and he discussed the grinding of conical lenses and mirrors. Out of this work came another of Wren's important mathematical results, namely that the hyperboloid of revolution is a ruled surface. These results were published in 1669. [41] In subsequent years, Wren continued with his work with the Royal Society, although after the 1680s his scientific interests seem to have waned: no doubt his architectural and official duties absorbed more time.

It was a problem posed by Wren that serves as an ultimate source to the conception of Newton's Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis . Robert Hooke had theorised that planets, moving in vacuo, describe orbits around the Sun because of a rectilinear inertial motion by the tangent and an accelerated motion towards the Sun. Wren's challenge to Halley and Hooke, for the reward of a book worth thirty shillings, was to provide, within the context of Hooke's hypothesis, a mathematical theory linking Kepler's laws with a specific force law. Halley took the problem to Newton for advice, prompting the latter to write a nine-page answer, De motu corporum in gyrum , which was later to be expanded into the Principia. [42]

Mentioned above are only a few of Wren's scientific works. He also studied other areas, ranging from agriculture, ballistics, water and freezing, light and refraction, to name only a few. Thomas Birch's History of the Royal Society (1756–57) is one of the most important sources of our knowledge not only of the origins of the Society, but also the day-to-day running of the Society. It is in these records that most of Wren's known scientific works are recorded.[ citation needed ]

Architectural career

Wren was a prominent man of science at the height of the Scientific Revolution. The Scientific Revolution seemed to promise a merger of the science of mechanics and the art of building. In Galileo Galilei's Two New Sciences the first science is not dynamics, for which the book is now better known, but rather the strength of materials, which Galileo had recognized 30 years earlier as a “science that is very necessary in making machines and buildings of all kinds.” In 1624 Henry Wotton, the British ambassador to Venice, published a book on architecture in which he analyzed in a rudimentary way the structure of a stone arch. Moreover, in the 17th century, it was people who would now be called scientists who were awarded the commissions to design and build monumental structures. In Turin, Guarino Guarini, a mathematician, devised the plans for such celebrated buildings as the Royal Church of Saint Lawrence, the Chapel of the Holy Shroud and the Palazzo Carignano. In Paris, Claude Perrault, a physician and an anatomist, designed the façade of the Louvre and the observatory of the Académie Française. In London, it was Wren and Hooke who collaborated as chief architect and city surveyor after the city was devasted by the Great Fire of 1666.

In 1661, just months after taking his post at Oxford, Wren was invited by Charles II to oversee the construction of new harbour defences at Tangier—then-newly under British control. Wren ultimately excused himself from the King's offer. Letters dated to the end of 1661 note that in addition to the Tangier project, Charles II had also sought Wren for consultation regarding repairs to Old St Paul's Cathedral, the reconstruction of which would ultimately be the architect's magnum opus. Speaking of Wren's vocational transition from academic to architect-engineer, biographer Adrian Tinniswood writes "the use of mathematicians in military fortification was not unusual... Perhaps Wren also had experience of the business of fortification, more than we know." [14]

Early architectural work

Later Renaissance Pembroke College Library Cambridge Plate 135 0166 (cropped).jpg
Pembroke Chapel
Sheldonian Theatre, 2011.jpg
Sheldonian Theatre
Emmanuel College Front Court, Cambridge, UK - Diliff.jpg
Emmanuel College Chapel

Wren's first known foray into architecture came after his uncle, Matthew Wren, Bishop of Ely, offered to finance a new chapel for Pembroke College, Cambridge. Matthew commissioned his nephew for the design, finding the architecturally inexperienced Christopher to be both ideologically sympathetic and stylistically deferential. Wren produced his design in the Winter of 1662 or 1663 and the chapel was completed in 1665.

Wren's second, similarly collegiate work followed soon after, when he was commissioned to design Oxford's "New Theatre," financed by Gilbert Sheldon. [43] His design for the structure was met with lukewarm to negative reception, with even Wren's defenders admitting the young architect to have not yet been "capable of handling a large architectural composition with assurance". [14] Adrian Tinniswood credits the building's flaws to "Sheldon’s refusal to pay for an elaborate exterior, Wren’s inability to find an adequate external expression for a building which was wholly conditioned by the functionality of its interior space and, ...his refusal to bend the knee to classical authority in the way that our experience of eighteenth-century architecture has conditioned us to believe is right." [14] Prior to the theatre's 1669 completion, Wren had received further commissions for the Garden Quadrangle at Trinity College, Oxford, and the chapel of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. [14]

Wren left for Paris in July 1665 on his first and only trip abroad. In France, the architect encountered an architectural milieu more closely linked to the ideals of the Italian Renaissance. Wren also met Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who was "widely acknowledged by contemporaries as the greatest artist of the century". Though Bernini's concrete influence on Wren's designs was transmitted via published plans and engravings, the encounter surely impacted the budding architect and his vocational trajectory. [14]

St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral in London has always been the highlight of Wren's reputation. His association with it spans his whole architectural career, including the 36 years between the start of the new building and the declaration by parliament of its completion in 1711.[ citation needed ]Letters document Wren's involvement in St Paul as early as 1661, when he was consulted by Charles II regarding repairs to the medieval structure. [14] In the spring of 1666, he made his first design for a dome for St Paul's. It was accepted in principle on 27 August 1666. One week later, however, the Great Fire of London reduced two-thirds of the City to a smoking desert and old St Paul's to ruin. Wren was most likely at Oxford at the time, but the news, so fantastically relevant to his future, drew him at once to London. Between 5 and 11 September, he ascertained the precise area of devastation, worked out a plan for rebuilding the City and submitted it to Charles II. Others also submitted plans. However, no new plan proceeded any further than the paper on which it was drawn. A Rebuilding of London Act which provided rebuilding of some essential buildings was passed in 1666. In 1669, the King's Surveyor of Works died and Wren was promptly installed.

The development of Wren's design for St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral, London, South elevation of the Great Model - Royal Academy Collection.jpg
Greek Cross Design (1673)
74 - AS II.13. S elevation.jpg
The Warrant Design (1674)
The South Prospect of St. Paul's Church London.jpg
The cathedral as built

It was not until 1670 that the pace of rebuilding started accelerating. A second rebuilding act was passed that year, raising the tax on coal and thus providing a source of funds for rebuilding of churches destroyed within the City of London. Wren presented his initial "First Model" for St Paul's. This plan was accepted, and demolition of the old cathedral began. By 1672, however, this design seemed too modest, and Wren met his critics by producing a design of spectacular grandeur. This modified design, called "Great Model", was accepted by the King and the construction started in November 1673. However, this design failed to satisfy the chapter and clerical opinion generally; moreover, it had an economic drawback. Wren was confined to a "cathedral form" desired by the clergy. In 1674 he produced the rather meagre Classical-Gothic compromise known as the Warrant Design. However, this design, called so from the royal warrant of 14 May 1675 attached to the drawings, is not the design upon which work had begun a few weeks before.

St Paul's Cathedral
Cathedral of Saint-Paul - 2014-08-04.jpg
West front
St Paul's Cathedral Dome from One New Change - Square Crop.jpg
Dome
St Paul's Cathedral Nave, London, UK - Diliff.jpg
Nave

The cathedral that Wren started to build bears only a slight resemblance to the Warrant Design. In 1697, the first service was held in the cathedral when Wren was 65. There was still, however, no dome. Finally, in 1711 the cathedral was declared complete, and Wren was paid the half of his salary that, in the hope of accelerating progress, Parliament had withheld for 14 years since 1697. The cathedral had been built for 36 years under his direction, and the only disappointment he had about his masterpiece was the dome: against his wishes, the commission engaged Thornhill to paint the inner dome in false perspective and finally authorised a balustrade around the roof line. This diluted the hard edge Wren had intended for his cathedral, and elicited the apt parthian comment that "ladies think nothing well without an edging". [44]

Later career

St Bride's Church (1670-84) St Bride's Church, London - Diliff.jpg
St Bride's Church (1670–84)

During the 1670s, Wren received significant secular commissions. Among many of his notable designs at this time, the monument (1671–76) [45] commemorating the Great Fire also involved Robert Hooke, but Wren was in control of the final design, the Royal Observatory (1675–76), [45] and the Wren Library at Trinity College, Cambridge (1676–84) [45] were the most important ones.[ citation needed ]

In 1682, Wren advised that the original statues of the King's Beasts on St George's Chapel, Windsor be removed. The pinnacles were left bare until 1925, when replica statues were installed. [46]

By historical accident, all Wren's large-scale secular commissions dated from after the 1680s. At the age of 50 his personal development, as was that of English architecture, was ready for monumental but humane architecture, in which the scales of individual parts relate both to the whole and to the people who used them. The first large project Wren designed, the Chelsea Hospital (1682–92), [45] does not entirely satisfy the eye in this respect, but met its brief with distinction and such success that even in the 21st century it fulfils its original function. The reconstruction of the stateroom at Windsor Castle was notable for the integration of architecture, sculpture and painting. This commission was in the hand of Hugh May, who died in February 1684, before the construction finished; Wren assumed his post and finalised the works.

Royal Hospital Chelsea (1682-92) Chelsea Royal Hospital from the north west.jpg
Royal Hospital Chelsea (1682–92)

Between 1683 and 1685 he was much occupied in designing the King's House, Winchester, where Charles II had hoped to spend his declining years, but which was never completed. When Wren promised that it would be complete within a year the King, who was conscious of his mortality, replied that " a year is a great time in my life".

Hampton Court (1689-1702) Hampton Court - 36957889221.jpg
Hampton Court (1689–1702)

After the death of Charles II in 1685, Wren's attention was directed mainly to Whitehall (1685–87). [45] The new king, James II, required a new chapel and also ordered a new gallery, council chamber and a riverside apartment for the Queen. Later, when James II was removed from the throne, Wren took on architectural projects such as Kensington Palace (1689–96) [45] and Hampton Court (1689–1700). [45]

The erection of the present Windsor Guildhall was begun in 1687, under the direction of Sir Thomas Fitz (or Fiddes) but there is a story that on his death in 1689, the task was taken over by Sir Christopher Wren. It was completed at a cost of £2687 – 1s – 6d. The new building was supported around its perimeter by stone columns, providing a covered area beneath as a venue for corn markets.

The story is widely told that the borough Council demanded that Wren should insert additional columns within the covered area, in order to support the weight of the heavy building above; Wren, however, was adamant that these were not necessary. Eventually, the council insisted and, in due course, the extra supporting columns were built, but Wren made them slightly short, so that they do not quite touch the ceiling, hence proving his claim that they were not necessary. However, there is little evidence that Wren was ever involved in the design or construction of the Guildhall. It is now believed that the story grew out of Wren's connections with Windsor and that his son, also called Christopher Wren, who served as a Member of Parliament for Windsor, commissioned the statue of Prince George of Denmark in 1713 on the south end of the building and his name was engraved underneath. The pillars were probably moved into the corn market from the east side of the building when an extension was added in 1829. [47] The gaps at the top of the pillars are now filled with tiles smaller than the capitals.

Wren did not pursue his work on architectural design as actively as he had before the 1690s, although he still played important roles in a number of royal commissions. In 1696 he was appointed Surveyor of Greenwich Naval Hospital, [45] and in 1698 he was appointed Surveyor of Westminster Abbey. [48] He resigned from the former role in 1716 but held the latter until his death, approving with a wavering signature [49] Burlington's revisions of Wren's own earlier designs for the great Archway of Westminster School.

Freemasonry

Since at least the 18th century, the Lodge of Antiquity No. 2, one of the four founding Masonic Lodges of the Premier Grand Lodge of England in 1717, has claimed Christopher Wren to have been its Master at the Goose and Gridiron at St. Paul's churchyard. [50] Whilst he was rebuilding the cathedral he is said to have been "adopted" on 18 May 1691 (that is, accepted as a sort of honorary member or patron, rather than an operative). Their 18th-century maul with its 1827 inscription claiming that it was used by Wren for the foundation stone of St. Paul's, belonging to the Lodge and on display in the Library and Museum of Freemasonry in London, corroborates the story. James Anderson made the claims in his widely circulated Constitutions while many of Wren's friends were still alive, but he made many highly creative claims as to the history or legends of Freemasonry. There is also a clear possibility of confusion between the operative workmen's lodges which might naturally have welcomed the boss, and the "speculative" or gentlemen's lodges which became highly fashionable just after Wren's death. By the standards of his time, a gentleman like Wren would not generally join an artisan body[ citation needed ]; however the workmen of St Paul's cathedral would naturally have sought the patronage or "interest" of their employer, and within Wren's lifetime there was a predominantly gentlemen's Lodge at the Rummer and Grapes, a mile upriver at Westminster (where Wren had been to School).

In 1788, the Lodge of Antiquity thought they were buying a portrait of Wren which now dominates Lodge Room 10, in the same building as the Museum; but it is now identified with William Talman, not Wren. Nevertheless, this recorded event and many old records attest to the fact that Antiquity thought that Wren had been its Master, at a time when it still held its minute books for the relevant years (which were lost by Preston at some date after 1778).

The evidence of whether Wren was a speculative freemason is the subject of the Prestonian Lecture [51] of 2011, which concludes on the evidence of two obituaries and Aubrey's memoirs, with supporting materials, that he did indeed attend the closed meeting in 1691, probably of the Lodge of Antiquity, but that there is nothing to suggest that he was ever a Grand Officer as claimed by Anderson.

Achievement and legacy

The Wren Library at Trinity College, Cambridge, is one of a number of the architect's commissions that now bear his name Wren Library, Trinity College (cropped).jpg
The Wren Library at Trinity College, Cambridge, is one of a number of the architect's commissions that now bear his name

Christopher Wren appeared on the reverse of the first British £50 banknote (Series D) issued in modern times. The notes were printed between 1981 and 1994, and were in circulation until 1996. [52]

Old Royal Naval College 2017-08-06 cropped.jpg
HE1290044 Royal Naval College North East Building Queen Anne's Quarter.jpg
Greenwich Hospital, designed largely by Wren, is a designated World Heritage Site

In 1997, UNESCO inscribed Wren's Greenwich Hospital on the World Heritage list, citing the complex's "outstanding architectural and artistic achievements". [53]

Bibliography

See also

Wren appears, or is mentioned in several Restoration-era novels or movies.

Related Research Articles

Nicholas Hawksmoor was an English architect. He was a leading figure of the English Baroque style of architecture in the late-seventeenth and early-eighteenth centuries. Hawksmoor worked alongside the principal architects of the time, Christopher Wren and John Vanbrugh, and contributed to the design of some of the most notable buildings of the period, including St Paul's Cathedral, Wren's City of London churches, Greenwich Hospital, Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard. Part of his work has been correctly attributed to him only relatively recently, and his influence has reached several poets and authors of the twentieth century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Paul's Cathedral</span> Cathedral in the City of London, England

St Paul's Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in London and is the seat of the Bishop of London. The cathedral serves as the mother church of the Diocese of London. It is on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London and is a Grade I listed building. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. The present structure, dating from the late 17th century, was designed in the English Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren. Its construction, completed in Wren's lifetime, was part of a major rebuilding programme in the city after the Great Fire of London. The earlier Gothic cathedral, largely destroyed in the Great Fire, was a central focus for medieval and early modern London, including Paul's walk and St Paul's Churchyard, being the site of St Paul's Cross.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edward Maufe</span> English architect and designer

Sir Edward Brantwood Maufe, RA, FRIBA was an English architect and designer. He built private homes as well as commercial and institutional buildings, and is remembered chiefly for his work on places of worship and memorials. Perhaps his best known buildings are Guildford Cathedral and the Air Forces Memorial. He was a recipient of the Royal Gold Medal for architecture in 1944 and, in 1954, received a knighthood for services to the Imperial War Graves Commission, which he was associated with from 1943 until his death.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Gibbs</span>

James Gibbs was one of Britain's most influential architects. Born in Aberdeen, he trained as an architect in Rome, and practised mainly in England. He is an important figure whose work spanned the transition between English Baroque architecture and Georgian architecture heavily influenced by Andrea Palladio. Among his most important works are St Martin-in-the-Fields, the cylindrical, domed Radcliffe Camera at Oxford University, and the Senate House at Cambridge University.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roger Pratt (architect)</span>

Sir Roger Pratt was an English gentleman-architect of the 17th century. He designed only five known buildings, but was highly influential, establishing a particularly English type of house, which was widely imitated. He drew on a range of European influences, and also on the work of Inigo Jones, England's first classical architect. Pratt also served on official commissions, and in 1668 was the first English architect to be knighted for his services.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hugh May</span>

Hugh May was an English architect in the period after the Restoration of King Charles II. He worked in the era which fell between the first introduction of Palladianism into England by Inigo Jones, and the full flowering of English Baroque under John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor. His own work was influenced by both Jones' work, and by Dutch architecture. Although May's only surviving works are Eltham Lodge, and the east front, stables and chapel at Cornbury House, his designs were influential. Together with his contemporary, Sir Roger Pratt, May was responsible for introducing and popularising an Anglo-Dutch type of house, which was widely imitated.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Francis Penrose</span> English architect and astronomer, 1817–1903

Francis Cranmer Penrose FRS was an English architect, archaeologist, astronomer and sportsman rower. He served as Surveyor of the Fabric of St Paul's Cathedral, and as President of the Royal Institute of British Architects and Director of the British School at Athens.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Old St Paul's Cathedral</span> Medieval cathedral of the City of London

Old St Paul's Cathedral was the cathedral of the City of London that, until the Great Fire of 1666, stood on the site of the present St Paul's Cathedral. Built from 1087 to 1314 and dedicated to Saint Paul, the cathedral was perhaps the fourth church at Ludgate Hill.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jonas Moore</span>

Sir Jonas Moore, FRS (1617–1679) was an English mathematician, surveyor, ordnance officer, and patron of astronomy. He took part in two of the most ambitious English civil engineering projects of the 17th century: draining the Great Level of the Fens and building the Mole at Tangier. In later life, his wealth and influence as Surveyor-General of the Ordnance enabled him to become a patron and driving force behind the establishment of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

Stephen Ernest Dykes Bower was a British church architect and Gothic Revival designer best known for his work at Westminster Abbey, Bury St Edmunds Cathedral and the Chapel at Lancing College. As an architect he was a devoted and determined champion of the Gothic Revival style through its most unpopular years. He rejected modernism and continued traditions from the late Victorian period, emphasising fine detail, craftsmanship and bright colour.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Christopher Kempster</span>

Christopher Kempster was an English master stonemason and architect who trained with Sir Christopher Wren, working on St Paul's Cathedral.

Christopher Wren (1675–1747), of Wroxall Abbey, Warwickshire was a Member of Parliament and the son of the architect Sir Christopher Wren.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Dickinson (architect)</span>

William Dickinson was an English architect.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Old Court House</span> Historic site in London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, England

The Old Court House is a Grade II* listed house located off Hampton Court Green in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames; its origins date back to 1536. The architect Sir Christopher Wren, who lived there from 1708 to 1723, was given a 50-year lease on the property by Queen Anne in lieu of overdue payments for his work on St Paul's Cathedral. The lease passed from Wren's son to his grandson. It was purchased from the Crown Estate in 1984.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Christopher Wren (priest)</span>

Christopher Wren B.D. was an Anglican cleric who was Dean of Windsor from 1635 until his death, and the father of the prominent architect Christopher Wren.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St. Mary's Church, East Knoyle</span> England parish church in East Knoyle, Wiltshire

St. Mary's Church is a Church of England parish church in East Knoyle, Wiltshire, England.

References

Citations

  1. From the 12th century to 1752, the legal year in England began on 25 March Old Style. Wren died in 1722 O.S. according to the pre-1752 calendar (see Paul Welberry Kent, Allan Chapman, eds., Robert Hooke and the English Renaissance, Gracewing Publishing, 2005, p. 47).
  2. Wells, John C. (2008), Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.), Longman, p. 908, ISBN   9781405881180
  3. Here both Old Style and New Style dates are given, with "Old Style" meaning: according to the Julian calendar but with the year starting on 1 January. Dates elsewhere in this article are Old Style in the same way, except where both styles are given. Using New Style dates for Wren's birth and death, even though he lived in England in the Old Style era, avoids confusion about his age at death.
  4. 1 2 "Sir Christopher Wren | English architect". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  5. "Sir Christopher Wren (1632 - 1723)" . Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  6. 1 2 "Christopher Wren | Biography, Education, Buildings, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  7. 1 2 "Wiltshire Council – Wiltshire Community History Get Wiltshire History Question Information". History.wiltshire.gov.uk. 17 May 2003. Archived from the original on 11 March 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  8. Wren, Ames & Wren 1750
  9. "Sir Christopher Wren". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  10. "Five depictions of the brain – The Psychologist". bps.org.uk. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  11. Pevsner, Nikolaus (1970). The buildings of England: Cambridgeshire (2nd ed.). Penguin Books. p. 462. ISBN   0-14-071010-8.
  12. Downes, Kerry (2007). Christopher Wren. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN   9780199215249. OCLC   83977472.
  13. Bolton, Glorney (1956). Sir Christopher Wren. Hutchinson. p. 37.
  14. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Tinniswood, Adrian (2002). His Invention So Fertile: A Life of Christopher Wren. Pimlico. pp. 115–129. ISBN   978-0-7126-7364-8.
  15. 1 2 Rabbitts, Paul (21 February 2019). Sir Christopher Wren. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 13. ISBN   978-1-78442-323-0.
  16. "Sir Christopher Wren". The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive. Retrieved 30 September 2006.
  17. Windsor, Alan (March 1984). "John Soane: The Making of an Architect Pierre de La Ruffinière Du Prey". Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. 43 (1): 84–85. doi:10.2307/989987. JSTOR   989987.
  18. Meridew, John (1848). A Catalogue of Engraved Portraits of Nobility, Gentry, Clergymen and Others, Born, Resident In, Or Connected with the County of Warwick: Alphabetically Arranged, with Names of the Painters and Engravers, ... to which are Added Numerous Biographical Notices, ... p. 77.
  19. "Sir Christopher Wren, 1632 – 1723". The History of Parliament . Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  20. "Cambridge University, 1660–1690". The History of Parliament . Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  21. "Oxford University, 1660–1690". The History of Parliament . Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  22. "Plympton Erle, 1660–1690". The History of Parliament . Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  23. "New Windsor, 1660–1690". The History of Parliament . Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  24. "New Windsor, 1690–1715". The History of Parliament . Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  25. "Weymouth and Melcolme Regis, 1690–1715". The History of Parliament . Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  26. Tinniswood 2001, p. 184 (Some time earlier, Faith had dropped her wristwatch into a pool of water. It had been sent to Wren in London for it to be repaired. This letter was part of a package.)
  27. "Christopher Wren - Biography". Maths History. Retrieved 7 October 2022.
  28. Tinniswood 2001 , p. 239
  29. Davies, C.S.L. (2008). "The Youth and Education of Christopher Wren". The English Historical Review. 123 (501): 300–327. doi:10.1093/ehr/cen008. ISSN   0013-8266. JSTOR   20108454.
  30. Downes, Kerry (2004). "Wren, Sir Christopher (1632–1723), architect, mathematician, and astronomer" . Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/30019 . Retrieved 16 June 2019.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  31. "Parishes: Wroxall". British History Online. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  32. Buchanan, Clare (11 April 2013). "Sir Christopher Wren's magnificent home up for sale". Richmond and Twickenham Times. London. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  33. Tinniswood 2001 , p. 366
  34. "Memorials of St Paul's Cathedral" Sinclair, W. p. 469: London; Chapman & Hall, Ltd; 1909.
  35. "Discover the Crypt – St Paul's Cathedral, London, UK". stpauls.co.uk. Retrieved 6 September 2009.
  36. Elmes 1852 , p. 411
  37. Masters, Tom; Fallon, Steve; Maric, Vesna (2008). London. Lonely Planet Publications. p. 111. ISBN   978-1-74104-712-7.
  38. Bolton, Arthur T.; Hendry, H. Duncan, eds. (1941). The Wren Society Volume XVIII. Oxford University Press. p. 181.
  39. Cock, Christopher (1748). A Catalogue of the Curious and Entire Libraries of Sir Christopher Wren, Knt. and Christopher Wren, Esq. his son, etc. London: Christopher Cock.
  40. Multhauf, Robert P. (1961). "The Introduction of Self-Registering Meteorological Instruments". United States National Museum Bulletin.
  41. Wren, Christophoro (1669). "Generatio corporis cylindroidis hyperbolici, elaborandis lentibus hyperbolicis accommodati, auth. Christophoro Wren L L D. Et Regiorum Ædificiorum Præfecto, nec non-Soc. Regiæ Sodali". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. 4 (48): 961–962. Bibcode:1669RSPT....4..961W. doi: 10.1098/rstl.1669.0018 .
  42. Grattan-Guinness, Ivor, ed.; Landmark Writings in Western Mathematics, 1st ed., 2005, pp. 64–65
  43. Geraghty, Anthony (2002). "Wren's Preliminary Design for the Sheldonian Theatre". Architectural History. 45: 275–288. doi:10.2307/1568785. ISSN   0066-622X. JSTOR   1568785.
  44. Bolton and Hendry, eds., The Wren Society, 20 vols.
  45. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Downes 1988 , p. 131
  46. London, H. Stanford (1953). The Queen's Beasts. Newman Neame. p. 15.
  47. Marson, Pamela; Mitchell, Brigitte (2015). Windsor Guildhall: History and Tour. Friends of the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum. p. 7. ISBN   9780-9010-3309-3.
  48. Jardine 2003 , p. 440
  49. Westminster Abbey Muniments
  50. "Manifesto of 1778 issued by The Lodge of Antiquity, formerly The Old Lodge of St Paul,  to preserve the Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry, Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth" (PDF). Lodgeroomus.net. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2012.
  51. Campbell 2011
  52. Dutton, Roy (2009). Financial Meltdown. Infodial. p. 233. ISBN   978-0-9556554-3-2.
  53. Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Maritime Greenwich". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 10 July 2021.

Sources

Sir

Christopher Wren

Christopher Wren by Godfrey Kneller 1711.jpg
Wren in a portrait by Godfrey Kneller (1711)
Born30 October 1632 [ O.S. 20 October]
Died8 March 1723 [ O.S. 25 February]
(aged 90) [1]
St James's, London, England
Nationality English (later British)
Alma mater Wadham College, Oxford
Known forDesigner of 54 London churches, including St Paul's Cathedral, as well as many notable secular buildings in London after the Great Fire
Spouse(s)
Faith Coghill
(m. 1669;died 1675)

Jane Fitzwilliam
(m. 1677;died 1680)
Children4
Parent(s) Christopher Wren the Elder
Mary Cox
Scientific career
Fields Architecture, physics, astronomy and mathematics
Institutions All Souls' College, Oxford
Academic advisors William Oughtred
Surveyor of the King's Works
In office
1669–1718
Weymouth and Melcombe Regis
Parliament of England
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Plympton Erle
16851687
With: Richard Strode
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for New Windsor
11 January 1689 – 14 May 1689
With: Henry Powle
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for New Windsor
6 March 1690 – 17 May 1690
With: Baptist May
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis
17011702
With: Charles Churchill
George St Lo
The Hon. Maurice Ashley (1701–1702)
Anthony Henley (1702)
Succeeded by
Court offices
Preceded by Surveyor of the King's Works
1669–1718
Succeeded by
Professional and academic associations
Preceded by3rd President of the Royal Society
1680–1682
Succeeded by