The Fire of the Church of Our Lady


This vivid color print shows the burning of the Church of Our Lady, the cathedral of Copenhagen, on the night of September 4–5, 1807, during the Anglo-Danish war of 1807–14. Britain initiated the war in August 1807, after the Danes refused to surrender their fleet, which the British feared would fall into the hands of Napoleonic France. The British landed troops on Danish soil and on September 2 began a three-day bombardment of the city. On the third night of the attack, the steeple of the cathedral was set on fire and burned and fell to the ground within hours. This print by G.L. Lahde (1765–1833) is based on an 1807 painting by C.W. Eckersberg (1783–1853), which captured the conflagration as seen from a neighboring street. The Church of Our Lady goes back to 1209, when the original sanctuary was constructed of limestone on the highest point in the town. The original church was destroyed in a fire and was reconstructed in 1316. It burned again in the great fire of 1728, but was rebuilt in 1738. It was again rebuilt after the fire of 1807. Eckersberg studied with Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825) in Paris, worked in Rome, and in 1818 was named professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. He is known as the “father of Danish painting” for his own work and his influence on the younger generation of Danish painters.

Date Created

Publication Information



Title in Original Language

Vor Frue Taarns Brand

Type of Item

Physical Description

37.4 x 25.4 centimeters

Last updated: February 12, 2016