Edward Jerman, a metropolitan master-craftsman, was the designer of some of the most prestigious secular buildings in the City of London following the Great Fire of 1666.
Considered ‘the City’s most able known artist’ by the Mercers’ Company, in 1667 Edward Jerman was invited by a committee composed of the Corporation of the City and the Mercers’ Company to make designs for the new Royal Exchange. The halls of the ‘Twelve Great Companies’ had also been destroyed by the Fire, along with thirty-five halls of the Livery Companies. Having designed four of the new livery buildings, Jerman was now commissioned to design four more for the prestigious Twelve.
These companies were the wealthiest and most superior, whose members included the most eminent citizens. Thus Edward Jerman was chosen as architect by many of the rulers of the City, an august body of men of authority and privilege who controlled its affairs both politically and commercially. Together with Sir Christopher Wren, whose City work was mainly confined to ecclesiastical architecture, Jerman was responsible for the most important City buildings of the post-Fire period.
This book celebrates that contribution. Jerman’s major designs – the Royal Exchange, eight Livery Company halls and St Paul’s School – received acclaim from contemporary critics. His town planning for the Goldsmiths’ Company was innovative and his designs for the Lord Mayor’s pageants exemplified his versatility and ingenuity. His palette was wide and the City of London in the third quarter of the seventeenth century proved fertile ground wherein Jerman’s artistic talent could take root and flourish.