Hollar's Map

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Hollar's map dates from the 1660's.


Based on the John Speed map of 1610, Hollar's map from the 1660's updates the view of Chester with some "modern" detail:

  • The spire of the Greyfriars is shown much more prominently;
  • The spire of the Whitefriars can no longer be seen. In 1495 the steeple of the church had been rebuilt and the new, elegant spire became a valued landmark for sailors. In 1592-3 the site was acquired by Thomas Egerton, the attorney-general, who demolished the church and built a new house.
  • The Phoenix Tower now appears;
  • The waterworks tower at the Bridgegate is visible;


Hollar who mapped Chester. In Hollar's Map from the 1660's Randle Holmes' house at the end of Castle Street appears to be shown in special detail, which implies that Hollar knew Holme.

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) came to London from Bohemia in about 1636 and produced maps, as well as a huge number of topographic and illustrative works, views and frontispieces. Hollar often used etching for map production – a technique not regularly employed for maps by other engravers at the time. Hollar’s engraving skills had been learnt in Frankfurt under the tutelage of Matthaus Merian. However, he spent most of his working life in London and the capital city proved an important subject in his work.

Hollar’s (1607-77) Long View of London from Bankside appeared in 1647 and is one of his most famous works. The Long View was sketched between 1636 and 1644 but was not immediately published. As a royalist Hollar went into exile (in Antwerp) from England during and after the civil war from 1644-52 and he took his huge archive of drawings with him. The plates were thus etched in Antwerp and it was published by Cornelis Danckers in 1647. The view’s accuracy is unprecedented and is a most important record of our knowledge of London before the Great Fire of 1666.

Hollar was also appointed Iconographer to the King in 1660 and some of his other map works include “The Kingdome Of England & Principality Of Wales Exactly Described” (the so-call Quartermaster’s Map) that was published by Thomas Jenner in 1644, a map of England published by Francis Eglesfield in 1644, a map of Ireland in conjunction with Stent and Overton in 1669, and one of “Hungaria” in 1664 with Stent and Overton again, amongst others.

A more elaborate version of his life is given in Chamber's Book of days.

Sources and Links