Wenceslaus Hollar
Field: Artist
Location in the Abbey: St Margaret's Church
Type of memorial: Plaque

Wenceslaus Hollar, the famous etcher, is buried in St Margaret's church Westminster and has a wall tablet there. The present oval tablet, designed and made by David Kindersley, replaced one lost by bomb damage during the Second World War. The inscription reads: 

"The famous etcher Wenceslaus Hollar born in Prague in 1607 was buried here 28 March 1677. To replace the memorial damaged in 1940 Sidney T.Fisher of Montreal had this stone cut in 1972"

It is on the north wall and was unveiled on 28 June 1972.

The original memorial, probably by Frederick Wilcoxson, had the following inscription "Wenceslaus Hollar, a Bohemian Gent. born in Prague, famous in arts, by his indefatigable labours has left many work to eternize his memory: being first encouraged by his noble patron beloved and esteemed by the curious, having perigrinated on earth (in many parts) at last was here deposited to rest. He lived in London and dyed in this parish 28 of March 1677, aet.[aged] 70".

Hollar was a son of Jan and Marketa and was born in Prague on 23 July 1607. He moved to Germany and there met Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel in 1636 and travelled with his party, coming to London in the same year. In 1641 he married Margaret Tracy and they had a son James, who died of plague, and a daughter. His second marriage was to Honora Roberts at St Giles in the Fields church by whom he had several children. The prints he produced were panoramas, topographical and architectural views and numerous plates by him occur in such books as The History of St Paul's Cathedral and Monasticon Anglicanum. He engraved several views of Westminster Abbey. He died at his house in Gardener's Lane near St Margaret's.

A photo of the memorial can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading:

"Wenceslaus Hollar, a Bohemian artist in England" by R.T. Godfrey, 1994

"A descriptive catalogue of the etched work of Wenceslaus Hollar 1607-77" by R.Pennington, 1982

Collections of his work are at the British Museum and the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle.

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