Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 135,696 pages of information and 217,234 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Christopher Wren

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Sir Christopher Wren (20 October 1632 – 25 February 1723) is one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history. He was responsible for rebuilding 51 churches in the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666, including his masterpiece, St Paul's Cathedral, on Ludgate Hill, completed in 1710.

Educated in Latin and Aristotelian physics at the University of Oxford, Wren was a notable astronomer, geometer, and mathematician-physicist, as well as an architect. He was a founder of the Royal Society (president 1680–82), and his scientific work was highly regarded by Sir Isaac Newton and Blaise Pascal.

Wren's first architectural project was the chapel of Pembroke College in Cambridge, which his uncle, the Bishop of Ely, asked him to design in 1663. The second was the design of the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, completed in 1668. This, the gift of Archbishop Sheldon to his old university, was influenced by the classical form of the Theatre of Marcellus in Rome, but was a mixture of this classical design with a modern empirical design.

Wren's association with St Paul's Cathedral 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. Wren had been involved in repairs of the old cathedral since 1661. In the spring of 1666, he made his first design for a dome for St Paul's.

Other significant archetectural achievements were the monument commemorating the Great Fire, the Royal Observatory, and the library at Trinity College, Cambridge. [1]

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