Shystone layered the paintings on top of the Google Street View images, at times allowing modern cars, statues, and architecture to poke through the painting.
Take a look at how much London has changed below.
“Northumberland House” by Italian painter Canaletto (1752)
“On the South end of Trafalgar Square this huge townhouse stood from 1605 right up to 1874 when it was demolished after compulsorily purchase by Government to make way for a new road,” shystone said. “There’s a Waterstones on the corner now under an old hotel building.”
“Blackman Street London” by British artist John Atkinson Grimshaw (1885)
“The church is St. George The Martyr,” shystone said. “Today The Shard is the biggest spire you’ll see looking North East up Borough Highstreet.”
“The 9th of November, 1888” by English painter William Logsdail (1890)
“[The] Lord Mayor’s Procession passing through Bank Junction,” according to shystone. “To the left The Old Bank of England — somewhat underwhelmingly, the worlds eighth oldest bank — less than 50 years away from demolition. The Greatest Architectural Crime of the 20th Century in the City of London.”
“View of The Grand Walk” by Italian painter Canaletto (1751)
“The Pleasure Gardens in Vauxhall were a big deal in the 1600s,” shystone said. “There was music and live entertainment and hot air balloons! Picking up hookers and working boys too by the time this was painted. Better for gay clubbing these days if that’s your bag.”
“A View of Greenwich from the River” by Italian painter Canaletto (1750-2)
“Greenwich unchanged as ever, minus a few of the sail boats,” according to shystone.
“Covent Garden Market” by English painter Balthazar Nebot (1737)
“When this square was originally built in the 1660s it was the first open piazza of its type in London,” shystone said. “Pretty famous as a red light district by the time this was painted. Today this view east towards St. Pauls Church is taken up by the Market Hall that got built in 1830.”
“St Martins in the Fields” by English painter William Logsdail (1888)
“On the other side of Trafalgar Square is St. Martin’s in the Fields,” according to shystone. “Not as old as Northumberland House but there’s been a church on the site for at least 800 years. You see locals doing Tai Chi at lunchtime in the courtyard over the crypt when the weather is nice.”
The River Thames with “St. Paul’s Cathedral on Lord Mayor’s Day” by Italian painter Canaletto (1746)
“The Millennium Bridge cuts across this patch of the river now,” shystone explained. “You still get a great view of St. Pauls from the South side of the river, but in 1746 — only 40 years since they finished building it — it must have totally dominated London’s skyline; It was our city’s tallest building for over 300 years!”
Westminster Abbey with a “Procession of Knights of the Bath” by Italian painter Canaletto (1749)
“This view hints at the less developed (and less painted) riverfront behind the Abbey the Knights are heading down to,” shystone said. “In 1749 Westminster Palace as we see it today wasn’t built yet, No Big Ben keyring for Canaletto. Members of Parliament were still using the Abbey’s Chapter House to have Commons meetings.”
“The Strand Looking East from Exeter Exchange” by an unknown artist (1822)
“The Strand has changed massively since this painting of St. Mary Le Strand,” according to shystone. “It was half demolished and widened in 1900 removing all the pokey alleyways and narrow residential roads to the North side. Even the church is a replacement for another one demolished to make way for Somerset House. In 1822 all the roads on the right would have still led right down into the Thames before the embankment was constructed.
“Most of those buildings are gone, but some of the roads remain and retain their slope down towards the old Thames riverbank. On Villers St., the riverbank came right up to where Gordon’s Wine Bar is.”
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