Editors’ Choice: Fly Through 17th-Century London’s Gritty Streets with Animations

Critics did not love 2004 film The Libertine, starring Johnny Depp as dissolute 17th century poet and court favorite John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester. Some admiring critics pointed out, dour scripting aside, the film’s depiction of 17th century London is indeed most convincing. You can almost feel the muck that clings to everything, and smell the rank stench of body odor barely covered by perfume.

Which brings us to another authentic recreation of 17th century London, one we’ve featured here before. Designed by six plucky students from De Monfort University, the three-minute CGI tour through the city’s sooty Tudor streets before The Great Fire of 1666 resembles a video game; but it also gives us a persuasive sense of the city’s scale, layout, and, yes, it’s griminess. Though its unsanitary streets are empty, one can easily imagine walking them in this prize-winning animation. Less inviting, however, are those 17-century London streets at night in another, eight-minute animation  created by another De Montfort team called Triumphant Goat.

Fly through 17th-century London here.

This content was selected for Digital Humanities Now by Editor-in-Chief Joshua Catalano based on nominations by Editors-at-Large: Antonio Jimenez-Munoz, Jan Lampaert, Rebecca Napolitano, Danae Tapia, Kevin Thompson, Covadonga Lamar, Melanie Barbier, and Sahar Al-Keshwan