Gillian Tindall's books take little-known characters and - through imaginative reconstruction - make their life stories stand for 'big' events in history. Hollar stands for the English Civil War, the exile of Charles II, the Restoration, the Plague and the Fire - and the expansion of London into Covent Garden and the meadows of Islington.
Born in Prague, Hollar was the artist/engraver who drew London before and after the Great Fire of 1666. It is because of his panoramas that we know (for e.g.) what Old St Paul's was like, before it was completely destroyed and subsequently rebuilt by Wren. As a young engraver making a precarious living wandering round Europe during the 30 Years War, he was picked up by a colourful English figure: Lord Arundel who had a passion for art, beautiful things and collecting. Arundel gave him employment and brought him back to London, where Hollar made a name for himself with his fashion plates, maps and panoramas. During the Civil War, Hollar was in exile with the royalists in Antwerp. He returned to England ahead of Charles II, and continued to make his unique and invaluable record of the period of the Restoration - and of London during a time of catastrophe and change.Author Profile
Gillian Tindall is brilliant at evoking history and place. As well as a classic book about the hidden past of North London, The Fields Beneath, she is the author of Celestine (recreating the vanished world of a French peasant woman) and The Journey of Martin Nadaud (a true view of the building of nineteenth-century Paris seen through the eyes of a stone-mason) which is also published by Pimlico. Gillian Tindall lives in Kentish Town.Reviews