Architecture and the Fine Arts

During the 18th and 19th Centuries copper and bronze continued to hold a prominent position in the fine arts which has been maintained down to the present day. Bronze became a favourite medium for sculpture and thousands of fine bronzes of the period are still in existence all over the world. Hamo Thorneycroft's work and the bronzes of Rodin and Epstein, as well as bronzes such as those in Coventry Cathedral, are more modern examples of this art.

When Wren was commissioned to rebuild St. Paul's Cathedral after the Great Fire of London he intended to use copper for the dome. This would have lessened very considerably its enormous weight; but there were no coppersmiths capable of undertaking the work, and the specification was altered in favour of lead. An old copper roof covers the Chapel Royal, St. James's, but the majority of the handsome green copper roofs and cupolas in Britain were erected in the 19th Century or even more recently (see p. 79). On the Continent many of the oldest and most attractive copper roofs are to be found at Copenhagen. These include the roof of the Danish Parliament building and the City Hall, as well as other examples dating back over 350 years.