1827 London Colosseum: demolished


Built to Exhibit a Painting
The London Colosseum was a building to the east of Regent's Park, London. It was built in 1827 to exhibit Thomas Hornor's "Panoramic view of London", the largest painting ever created. The design of the Colosseum was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. The Colosseum was built on the east side of Regent's Park, between Chester Terrace and Cambridge Terrace. Designed by Decimus Burton, with the assistance of John Young it was in the form of a sixteen-sided domed polygon, with a Doric portico. It was built of brick rendered with cement in imitation of stone. It was demolished in 1874.

The Colosseum was a venture of English artist and surveyor, Thomas Hornor (Pictural Delineator of Estates ???), built to exhibit a vast panoramic view of London. The panorama was based on drawings Hornor had made from the vantage point of a temporary hut placed at the top of the dome of St Paul's Cathedral, while the cross and ball were being replaced in 1821-2. Initial plans to sell panoramic views came to nothing, but an elaborate scheme to create a 360-degree panorama on the inside of a dome of the Colosseum, specially built in Regents Park (and resembling the Roman Pantheon rather than the Roman Colosseum), came to fruition, but at such expense that its principal backer, Rowland Stephenson MP, had to flee to America in 1828, soon followed by Hornor.
  • The panorama was completed in November 1829, after a period of 4 years. The painting was the largest ever created, totalling over forty thousand square feet in area, and a testament to Parris's great artistic skill, talent, and perseverance.
  • Hornor fell into financial difficulties and the property passed into the hands of trustees. It went into decline as a place of public amusement, and in May 1843 it was sold for 23,000 guineas. It was remodelled by William Bradwell, former chief machinist of the Covent Garden Theatre, who added an eastern entrance in Albany Street, and an arched corridor inspired by one at the Vatican.
  • To continue with the narrative nonsense visit London Colosseum - Wikipedia

OK, who here knew that there was a Pantheon in London which they chose to name Colosseum, while it does not look like one? I sure did not. A building built to paint a picture in its dome, how about that? How much money did they have back then? Well, it does not matter for the ending to everything was always the same:
  • Hornor fell into financial difficulties and the property passed into the hands of trustees. It went into decline as a place of public amusement, and in May 1843 it was sold for 23,000 guineas.
  • E.T. Parris repainted "The Grand Panorama of London" for the reopening in 1845, adding detail impossible in the limited time before the original opening.
Poor dude was this Mr. Parris. Had to paint this "panorama" twice. By the way, those "financial difficulties" of 1843, apparently, left this London Colosseum in a piss poor condition.



The guinea was a coin of approximately one quarter ounce of gold that was minted in Great Britain between 1663 and 1814. The name came from the Guinea region in West Africa, where much of the gold used to make the coins originated. It was the first English machine-struck gold coin, originally worth one pound sterling, equal to twenty shillings, but rises in the price of gold relative to silver caused the value of the guinea to increase, at times to as high as thirty shillings. From 1717 to 1816, its value was officially fixed at twenty-one shillings.
  • In the Great Recoinage of 1816, the guinea was replaced by the pound as the major unit of currency, and in coinage by the sovereign.
  • KD: Why did they use guineas 30 years after they became obsolete?
The Interior


View in the Colosseum Regents Park London,
Summer Fashions for 1836

Nice view isn't it? This here is supposed to be London.

For those who wants to figure out what this "Swiss Cottage" was doing at, or may be inside the London Colosseum, here is a picture to start with.



KD: Anyways, I cannot make heads or tails of this London Colosseum. Why do we have another "Ancient Roman" structure getting built in the 19th century? It was built in 1827. Really? One year only? Who was the architect, how many people worked to get it built? Etc.

If there is something you find, please share.


Well-known member
What the hell is that center structure in the interior of the dome?? Shows enormous gears, but sideways and cut off or something.

What????? By means of squares, Parris began to draw the outlines in chalk, on a scale 16-times larger each way, or, in other words, 256-times the area of the original drawings. This was a work of much labour, and demanding close attention; but it was, nevertheless, completed by the following April. The painting (in oil) was then started. Hornor engaged several artists to assist Parris in the undertaking, but progress was slow and unsatisfactory due to their unfamiliarity with the type of work required. There were also problems of consistency of colour, composition etc.,and on several occasions it was necessary to repaint sections. Eventually, Parris decided to take charge and do the whole thing himself with the assistance of several house-painters; this proved to be the right choice.

Oil takes a notoriously long time to dry....sometimes days to weeks. i'm a little suspicious about such a huge piece with verticle/roof planes being painted without drippage. Also he miraculously found some pretty talented house painters😂

Lastly there is a discrepancy in the size of the people outside of the collessum and those on its interior.
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Well-known member
Interesting, when I was in Berlin a while ago I was looking through old paintings at an antiquarian bookshop and I found such Pantheon like buildings on several pictures of small european cities. For example, the one attached is from Danzig (1830).

the central place of these pantheons suggests to me it was some kind of technical structure, for energy production or storage. I guess there were hundreds around back then, all looking essentially the same.

danzig schauspielhaus - Google Search

Theater am Kohlenmarkt – Wikipedia

Here's a translation of what is supposed the history of this building:

Description of the building designed and built by C. S. Held. (The decision to build and prepare the new building was taken on the initiative of the merchants J. Kabrun and A. L. Muhl as well as the town councillor C. G. von Schroeder. The interior and theatre curtain were designed by P. L. Burnat and Schmidtmann according to his designs. The technical equipment was installed by the Berlin machinist Meyer). - Further explanations about acoustics and redouts during the winter break. - With editor's note: Recommendation of the text "Vorschläge zur Verbesserung der Schauspielhäuser" by L. Catel (Berlin, 1802).​

Künste. Das neue Schauspielhaus in Danzig. (Auszug aus einem Briefe.) - JPortal

The pantheon like building was supposedely rebuilt and was wooden before 1800.

It got destroyed in WW2, and was replaced by a modern building.

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Well-known member
Another pop up building, in use throughout the birth & expansion of photography... and we have less than 2? 'Photos' of this amazing building and work of art.... and even less written about it



Well-known member
This interior view is obsessing me a little bit. Things i've noticed other than the odd, massive sideways gears in the central column:

1. The ornamentation on this central column, it seems like the idea would be that this column was a kind of work station for the painters. Why, then, the beautiful ornamentation on the upper section?

2. The distance of the painters from the walls. They look up to 6 or 7 feet away from the walls! One guy almost looks like he's holding some kind of spray device.

3. The piece itself does not look oil paint based (granted, this is an old, probably faded piece) but the oils of today? Idk to get that kind of uniformity on the pale blue sky, etc? You'd need an absolute ton of paint and i don't know how possible it would be to create that effect by the oil paints that supposedly existed during that time. (Leaving aside the cost of the paint production, which i think was not cheap)

I wonder if this was created with that old painting technique called sfumato?

What Is the Sfumato Painting Technique?

Sylvie from new earth talks about how paintings of old times had many many layers of paint that were so thin the only way to accomplish it would have been laser printing, or something like that? I'll post it below. Maybe this central device had something to do with that laser printing technique, and maybe the workers were able to just 'spray on' the imagery? Could explain ordinary house painters taking care of the job? Just some thoughts:) love this topic, thanks KD for consistantly posting on architectural/archeology anomalies with real research to back it up. I'm like a kid in a candy store on this forum! I'll post pics and link to newearth when reception is better

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Bear Claw

Well-known member
I don't know much about this particular building. Although I live locally, so if you want someone to pay a site visit, I am happy too.

I do have a number of loose related thoughts that may be of interest, if not obviously direct.

1) Fairly close to Regents Park is a pub called 'Swiss Cottage' and it looks identical to a Swiss Cottage. Not sure if it is related at all. However it is quite obviously out of place.

2) There are more Roman-esque buildings in London than you could reasonably shake a stick at. You can basically walk through the City of London (square mile) and think you are in Rome. I work in Moorgate and from my skyscraper can see dozens of Roman esque buildings. If you walk from Moorgate to Tower Bridge, you can very much be forgiven for thinking you are elsewhere.

Interestling the narrative behind all this is that it was designed and built by Sir Christopher Wren (as a direct result of the Great Fire of London).

sir christopher wren architecture london - Google Search

These buildings are all very much the same style as the building you have mentioned above.

3) In the City of London is the Mithraeum London Mithraeum I visited once, and I have a strong recollection of it being a underground Colosseum. Although the website is saying a temple. It is now underground underneath the Bloomberg building. But is very much evidence of city underneath a city. Mudflood?

Aware that these are loose thoughts, but perhaps there is something that may help with your thought train.

Happy to do any field trips if you want any particular location checked out. Most of the City of London is within grasp of my lunch break.


Opened in 1829. RE-opened in 1845. Later renderings also seem to show the addition of some type of steam power plants on either side of the columned area.

All of these attractions in this domed building??
Temple of Apollo Ruins

Temple of Theseus and South Fountain

South Side

Hall of Mirrors

“The Fountain Surrounding a Marble Statue”


Adelsberg Stalactite Cavern


Some cutaway photos of the interior dome

How could an artist render the shape completely wrong? Regarding size of columns, size of dome, and number of sides.

The only two actual photos that seem to exist

The Colosseum was obviously an entertainment venue. If current, popular culture gives us any indication regarding the lifespan of entertainment venues, then it would not seem implausible that interest waned after 20-30 years. But it seems ludicrous to have torn down that building?

Lastly, I cant help but look for steam powered vehicles in all of these 1820’s and 1830’s photos (thanks KD). I found Dr Guerner’s Steam Carriage in this one.