Visscher Redrawn was part of the City of London’s celebrations of the Great Fire and the Shakespeare 400 anniversary in 1616.
The work, measuring 2.6m in width, is a pen-and-ink update of Claes Janz. Visscher’s 1616 engraving of the city. It was displayed at the Guildhall Art Gallery throughout 2016, alongside one of the few surviving prints taken from Visscher’s engraving plates.
Visscher Redrawn shows how London has grown from a population of around 210,000, living on top of each other inside the Square Mile, to a conurbation of eight million, of whom only 7,000 live within the old city confines. The transformation was cleverly illustrated in interactive features in the Guardian Online and the Mail Online
But Visscher Redrawn is more than simply a city view, arranged on Visscher’s quirky landscape. Robin included, on the streets and bridges, in the river and in the celestial decorations, visual references to 37 plays by William Shakespeare, plus his major poetic works.
This scavenger hunt – visitors to the gallery could win a print or a family day out at Longleat Wildlife and Safari Park if they could find them all – was adapted for the web by Robin’s brother Simon. Now you can play the Shakespeare game yourself at
Little is known about Amsterdam-based Visscher or how he came to produce the London panorama without, evidently, ever visiting the city. But in his researches, Robin developed his own theory about how and when the sketches for the Visscher version were compiled, and he set this out in a booklet that accompanies purchases of Visscher Redrawn prints. The booklet also lists the text references for the Shakespeare game, and highlights other quirks of the work.  Click hereto download a PDF.