British Museum Gets Rare 19th Century Watercolor That Captures London Before Historic Fire

Gabrielle Okun | Reporter

A British museum received a rare 19th century watercolor by a French artist who captured London before a historic 1834 fire, according to The Guardian Wednesday.

The Museum of London got hold of a watercolor made by French painter Pierre Prévost in 1815, The Guardian reported. The painting is almost 23 feet long and features a panorama of London from St. Margaret’s Church located in Westminster. Prévost’s work showcased an immaculate and sunny London prior to the great fire in 1834 that forced most of the iconic city to get rebuilt. (RELATED: A Once Scandalous Nude Painting Sold For $157 Million)

The British Museum raised $235,000 to get the watercolor during a July 4 auction at Sotheby’s after the rare watercolor was recently rediscovered in France, according to the Evening Standard. (RELATED: Artist Re-Imagines Famous World Leaders As Hipsters [VIDEO])

“Not only does it highlight London as an important centre of international artistic exchange, it also reveals a fascinating moment in time,” said Sharon Ament, the director of the Museum of London, according to the Guardian. (RELATED: Vase Found In Shoebox Pulls In $19M During Auction)

“The first outing of The Panorama today,” Ament said in a tweet.

“You can see the old Houses of Parliament before it was burned down in 1834, you can see Waterloo Bridge not quite finished and all sorts of buildings that now no longer exist so it is like stepping back in time,” added Gregory Rubenstein, the head of the Old Master Drawings Department Worldwide at Sotheby’s, according to the Evening Standard. (RELATED: Rare Ancient Chinese Bowl Is Auctioned Off For $30 Million)

Prévost’s watercolor painting was a study for his original panorama that was approximately 98 feet long. However, it was lost since its display in Paris in 1817. The French artist’s other surviving work is a panorama of Constantinople, which is currently held at the Louvre.

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