George Pyne (1800 – 1884)

St John’s College, Cambridge Old Chapel


35 x 23 cm

A view of the Old Chapel of St John’s College, Cambridge before its demolition.

In 1861, the Fellows of St John’s agreed to mark the seven hundredth jubilee of their college by building a new chapel. Sir George Gilbert Scott was appointed to carry out the work, and Dr James Wood (a previous Master of the college) bequeathed the huge sum of £20,000 for the purpose of the new chapel.

George Pyne was related to two founders of the Society of Painters in Watercolours – William Henry Pyne was his father, and John Varley his father-in-law. Pyne trained as an architectural draughtsman and lived in Oxford from the 1850s until his death in 1884, specialising in views of the city and its colleges. His Oxford pictures are both architecturally-minded and romantically creative, often combining intensely detailed depictions of college buildings with imagined pedestrian scenes.

Pyne was also noted for his views of Cambridge and Eton, and for his drawing manuals ‘A Rudimentary and Practical Treatise on Perspective for Beginners’ (1848) and ‘Practical Rules on Drawing for the Operative Builder, and Young Student in Architecture’ (1854); the latter texts offer an insight into his method of depicting architecture and its surroundings.

Condition: very good.

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