This panoramic view of London was first published in 1616, the year of Shakespeare’s death, but from internal evidence it probably shows the city around 1600. Of particular interest on the south bank are three places of popular entertainment: the Beargarden, where bear baitings and other amusements were held; and two theatres, the Swan and the Globe (a third theatre, the Rose, lay to the west of the Globe, but is not shown). Their position on the south bank put them beyond the confines, and therefore the jurisdiction, of the City. Shakespeare is most closely associated with the Globe. It was built in 1599 by his company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, and he was a shareholder, with several of his fellow actors.


Inscribed on lower edge: ‘CJVisscher Delineavit’, and in top left corner: ‘Londinium, antiquis olim regna ta Britannis, / Urbs, et quae nostro fulges clarissima seclo. / Quis tua templa canet sublimibus alta columnis, / Aëriasq, domos, magnique Palatia Regni, / Quis referet stantes Thamesino in littore Classes, / Divitias et opes, et crebro fornice Pontem, / Splendida es, et intidâ tu sub testudine coeli / Imperium Regina tenes, das jura
Britannis. / Londinum’.

Copper engraving; four leaves laid on linen, each measuring approx 420 × 540 mm