February 25, 1723 in London, at age 91.
Tombstone Epitaph (translated from Latin):
"Underneath lies buried Christopher Wren, the builder of this church and city; who lived beyond the age of ninety years, not for himself, but for the public good. If you seek his memorial, look about you."
Early Training of Christopher Wren:
- Westminster School: Wren may have done some studies here between 1641 and 1646
- Oxford: Began astronomy studies in 1649. Received B.A. in 1651, M.A. in 1653
As an astronomer, Christopher Wren developed exceptional skills working with models and diagrams, experimenting with creative ideas, and engaging in scientific reasoning.
First Buildings by Sir Christopher Wren:
- 1663-1665: New chapel for Pembroke College, Cambridge
- 1664-1668: Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford
Sir Christopher Wren and the Great Fire of London:
Christopher Wren proposed an ambitious plan that would rebuild London with wide streets radiating from a central hub. Wren's plan failed, probably because property owners wanted to keep the same land they owned before the fire. However, Wren did design 51 new city churches and the new St Paul's Cathedral.
In 1669, King Charles II hired Christopher Wren to oversee reconstruction of all the royal works (government buildings).
Great Buildings by Sir Christopher Wren:
- 1670-1683: St. Mary Le Bow, at Cheapside, London
- 1671-1677: Monument to the Great Fire of London (with Robert Hooke)
- 1671-1681: St. Nicholas Cole Abbey, London
- 1672-1687: St. Stephen's Walbrook, London
- 1674-1687: St. James, at Picadilly, London
- 1675-1710: Saint Paul's Cathedral, London
- 1680: St. Clement Danes, at Strand, London
- 1682: Christ Church College Bell Tower
- 1696-1715: Greenwich Hospital, Greenwich
Architectural Style and Sir Christopher Wren:
- Classical: Christopher Wren was familiar with the 1st Century Roman architect Vitruvius and the Renaissance thinker Giacomo da Vignola, who outlined Vitruvius's ideas in The Five Orders of Architecture (compare prices). Wren's first buildings were inspired by the classical works of English architect Inigo Jones.
- Baroque: Early in his career, Christopher Wren traveled to Paris, studied French baroque architecture, and met the Italian Baroque architect Gianlorenzo Bernini.
Scientific Achievements of Sir Christopher Wren:
- built a transparent beehive to help study bees
- invented a weather clock similar to a barometer
- invented an instrument for writing in the dark
- developed improvements in the telescope and the microscope
- experimented with injecting fluids into the veins of animals, laying the groundwork for successful blood transfusion
- constructed a detailed model of the moon
Other Achievements of Sir Christopher Wren:
- Knighted in 1673
- Founded the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge in 1680. Served as president from 1680 to 1682.
- Served as a Member of Parliament for Old Windsor in 1680, 1689 and 1690.
Quotes by Sir Christopher Wren:
- "A time will come when men will stretch out their eyes. They should see planets like our Earth."
- "Architecture has its political Use; publick Buildings being the Ornament of a Country; it establishes a Nation, draws People and Commerce; makes the People love their native Country, which Passion is the Original of all great Actions in a Commonwealth…. Architecture aims at Eternity."
- "In things to be seen at once, much variety makes confusion, another vice of beauty. In things that are not seen at once, and have no respect one to another, great variety is commendable, provided this variety transgress not the rules of optics and geometry."