The city of Westminster, in the 17th century, was significantly less developed than the city of London, consisting in the main of the Palace of Whitehall and Westminster Abbey, along with a number of grand houses and other buildings. As the century progressed, housing began to be constructed on the fields linking the two cities but the distinction, as depicted here, was still apparent. The great number of church spires rising above the roof-tops of the city of London, dominated by the old medieval pre-fire St Paul’s Cathedral, testifies to the size of the population in comparison to that of Westminster. Much of the south bank, or Surrey-side, was, as seen here, given over to fields and orchards, with Lambeth Palace itself and the associated church of St. Mary-at-Lambeth to the foreground the only significant buildings amongst a cluster of houses.
Hollar, a Bohemian living in London, had aligned himself with the Royalists during the Civil War, possibly even being captured, along with a number of other artists and writers, at the Siege of Basing House in 1645. The Civil War certainly seems to have been the reason for his departure from England and he was probably in Antwerp when he engraved this plate.