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St Paul’s Cathedral Dome – Classic Architecture


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There’s no question in my mind that London has more than its share of iconic architecture. And the great dome of St Paul’s Cathedral is definitely among that pantheon. Whether you’ve been to London or just seen pictures, that dome is a stirring example of classic architecture. The sight of it rising against those great British skies has remained with me long since my last trip to London.

It always amazes me that the now-familiar dome of St Paul’s Cathedral was a controversial part of Sir Christopher Wren’s design. “Old” St Paul’s was destroyed in the great fire of 1666. Wren’s Baroque church was a huge departure from the English Gothic that had gone before. The arguments against it were many including that it was too “Catholic” for Protestant England. Although the approved designs were a compromise, Wren quietly returned to his original vision beneath the scaffolding. The great dome we see today was always what the master architect had envisioned.

Can you imagine an architect today going against the agreed upon designs for a building on this scale? Better yet, aren’t you glad that Wren went with his gut and dreamed big? It’s hard to imagine St Paul’s Cathedral being as beloved today if the design by committee version had been completed instead.

I wanted to celebrate that beautiful architecture against those characteristic British skies. I’m not sure what it is about the skies over Britain but the clouds always seem to be dramatic and they feel as if they are hanging just within reach. On a winter visit years ago, I climbed to the top of St Paul’s and it felt as if the rain drops were forming around me rather than falling from above. The sky and St Paul’s dome are inevitably intertwined with one another. Maybe Wren chose a dome for just that reason?

Does this artwork remind you of visiting London, too? Or perhaps you’ve lived there in the past or live there now? Or do you just love classic architecture? I hope you’ll take a moment to tell me what it was about this London artwork that attracted your attention.


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