A Catalogue of the Churches of the City of London; Royal Palaces; Hospitals; and Publick Edifices; Built by Sr. Christopher Wren Kt. Surveyor General of the Royal-Works, during Fifty Years: viz. from 1668, to 1718.

RA Collection: Book

Record number


Variant Title

Synopsis Ædificiorum Publicorum Dni. Christophori Wren Equitis Aur. Architecti Regii
Opus Absolutum Annis XL
Works in architecture


: Printed for Sam. Harding in St. Martin's Lane, Dan. Browne near Temple-Bar, & Wm. Bathoe in Church Lane near St. Martin's Church in the Strand., [1749?]

Physical Description

15 pl. (incl. t.-pl.) (11 dble.); 594 mm. (Broadsheet).

General Note

In most copies Plate I is found in a second state, incorporating tables of the costs of Wren's buildings. (The Royal Academy's copy has this plate in its first state.)

Responsibility Note

Plates 4 and 14 are signed as drawn by N. Hawksmoor; plates 2 and 3 are captioned as taken from the autograph of Wren; the rest are unsigned by a draughtsman. Seven plates are signed as engraved by H. Hulsbergh, one by B. Cole, one by J. Schynvoet, one by S. Gribelin; the rest are unsigned - but the manuscript of the Parentalia mentions 'Vanderbank' with the other four engravers. Eight plates (including the title-plate) carry the publisher's imprint (pl. 1-5, 9, 14, 15).


RIBA, Early printed books, 4 (2001), 3717; E. Harris and N. Savage, British Architectural Books (1990), 950; National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard , II (1998), 96. For details of the plates see Wren Society XIV and XVIII; for details of the drawings see Wren Society I, V, IX, XII. On Wren see A. Tinniswood, His invention so fertile: a life of Christopher Wren ( 2001); K. Downes, The architecture of Wren (1982; rev. 988); The history of the King's Works, vol. V: 1660-1782, ed. H.M. Colvin ( 1976); J.A. Bennett, 'Christopher Wren: the natural causes of beauty', in Archit. Hist., XV (1972), p. 5-22; E.F. Sekler, Wren and his place in European architecture (1956).

Summary Note

The manuscript of Wren's son's Parentalia has proposals for publishing the Works in Architecture of Sir Christopher Wren, both as 'A Specimen of the Works in Architecture of Sr. Christopher Wren in XV Large copper Plates' and as a three-part work showing St Paul's cathedral, all Wren's other works and his unexecuted designs. The title that appears on the first plate of the present publication appears to have been intended for the proposed work in its full extent; and the book is still often referred to as 'Works in architecture' although it describes no more than St Paul's, St Mary Bow and the Monument. (Alternatively, we may take the title on Plate I as a caption referring to that plate only. Plate I is also captioned less prominently, 'Synopsis Ædificiorum Publicorum Dni. Christophori Wren Equitis Aur. Architecti Regii', and, within the plate itself, 'Opus Absolutum Annis XL'.) Three plates within the book carry dates: pl. 2, 1724; pl. 9 and 14, 1726; but R. Gough in his British topography (1780) states that the plates were first published in 1749.

The plates show: 1. (t.-pl.) a synopsis of Wren's public edifices, ranked in the form of a pyramid; 2. Wren's proposed plan for rebuilding London after the fire of 1666; 3. Wren's first design for the column commemorating the fire, 'the monument'; 4. the column as executed; 5. the plan of Wren's first design for St. Paul's; 6. south elevation of same; 7. section of same; 8. view of same; 9. plan of St. Pauls; 10. section of St. Paul's according to a former design; 11. section of cross-isle of St. Paul's to south; 12. elevation of west front of St Pauls according to a former design for the towers; 13. elevation of the east end of St. Paul's; 14. plans, elevation and profile of the steeple of St. Mary's, Bow; 15. plan and view of St. Mary's, Bow, with the arcade as originally intended.

Some of the drawings on which the plates are based are now at the Royal Institute of British Architects, London, and All Souls' College, Oxford.


Acquired between 1769 and 1802. Recorded in RAA Library, Catalogue, 1802.

Binding Note

20th-century half calf, marbled-papered boards; gilt-decorated spine, red morocco spine-label lettered 'Wren's Designs For Churches'.

Name as Subject


Architecture, British - Churches - Cathedrals - Columns - Monuments - City planning - Great Britain - London - St. Paul's Cathedral (London) - St. Mary's Church (Cheapside, London) - Monument (London) - History - 17th century - 18th century - Baroque
Plans - Elevations - Sections - Maps - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century


Sir Christopher Wren
Nicholas Hawksmoor, draughtsman
Henry Hulsbergh, engraver
Benjamin Cole, engraver
Jacob Schijnvoet, engraver
Simon Gribelin, engraver
Samuel Harding, publisher
Daniel Browne II, publisher
William Bathoe, publisher
John Vanderbank, engraver

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