The 1683-4 frost fair
I was supposed to be searching for early modern satirical prints on the British Museum “flat art” database, but looking at the freezing Cornish landscape outside my window I got distracted and ended up searching for winter scenes. I found some wonderful images of the frost fair that took place from December 1683 to February 1684 when the Thames froze solid near London Bridge.
For more on images of the fair see Joseph Monteyne, The Printed Image in Early Modern London (Ashgate, 2007).
Wonders on the Deep; Or, The most Exact Description of the Frozen River of Thames (1683-4), AN288334001, © The Trustees of the British Museum.
God’s Works is the Worlds Wonder (1684), AN250639001, © The Trustees of the British Museum.
Great Britains Wonder: or, Londons Admiration (1684), AN501914001, © The Trustees of the British Museum.
An Exact and Lively Mapp or Representation of Booths and all the varieties of showes and humours upon the Ice on the River of Thames by London … Anno Dm. MDCLXXXIII (1684), AN163816001, © The Trustees of the British Museum.
One of the most popular attractions at the frost fair – I think you can pick it out on some of the pictures – was the Ox-roast. Apparently the fair-goers were fascinated by the fact that the heat didn’t melt the ice.
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