Fire Damage, Near Camden, London, 1852
Artist: Scharf, George senior
Medium: Pencil on paper
This vigorous drawing depicts the remains of a fire that occurred at the Collard & Collard Pianoforte factory in 1851.
London had a number of pianoforte makers during the 18th and 19th centuries, Collard & Collard being one of the best known. The pianoforte was a beautiful instrument that resembled its predecessor, the harpsichord. The Collard brand was used by many musicians; Gustav Holst composed most of "The Planets" Suite using a Collard & Collard piano.
The area of Camden was still open countryside up until the the end of the 17th century. Mornington Crescent, from where this picture was made, appeared in 1821. The town of Camden experienced rapid expansion following the introduction of Regent's Canal and the local railway, and consequently became heavily industrialised.