Etching [6th Trail Proof] by Frank Potter (c.1885-1958)
Not dated [c.1941].
Image size: 17 x 9.5 inches - 432 x 241 mm approx., plus good margins.
Very good condition: a firm impression, dense colour and fine detail. A very faint crease (barely visible) runs horizontally across the centre of the image at the level of the base of the spire. The tone of this 6th proof state is slightly lighter than that in the 6th.
Potter's etching depicts the church in ruins some time after its near destruction by being hit by incendiary bombs in May 1941. Wardens are shown searching through the rubble watched by a solitary cat. The flag of St George hangs limply on its staff, the Monument is seen in the distance.
Founded in 1080, the Church of St Mary-le-Bow is a Grade 1 listed building, located in Cheapside in the City of London. It is one of the City's oldest and most important churches. The present church is the work of Sir Christopher Wren and widely acknowledged to be one of his finest creations, being the third highest of any Wren church, surpassed only by nearby St Paul's Cathedral and St Bride's, Fleet Street. It was also his second most expensive, again only surpassed by St Paul's Cathedral. Wartime damage reduced the interior to a shell and though the tower remained standing the bells fell and were smashed beyond repair. St Mary-le-Bow was sympathetically restored to its pre-war condition by Laurence King from 1956 to 1964.
The place is also internationally renowned for its bells. Traditionally, anyone born within earshot of the bells is considered to be a true Londoner, or Cockney – an increasingly difficult proposition nowadays due to noise pollution. The bells also feature in the nursery rhyme 'Oranges and Lemons' and according to legend, Dick Whittington heard them calling him back to the city in 1392, leading him to become Lord Mayor.
(Grateful thanks to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Mary-le-Bow).