Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire, Revolution, 2015-16

The National Maritime Museum's landmark 2015 exhibition delved into the turbulent history of Stuart London with famous diarist Samuel Pepys as guide. 

The exhibition is now closed

Samuel Pepys was one of the most colourful and appealing characters of the 17th century, and witness to the great events that shaped Stuart Britain, brilliantly brought to life in his famous diary. He lived through a time of turmoil which saw kings fighting for their crowns, the devastation of medieval London by plague, fire and war, and its resurrection as a world city.

The exhibition featured 200 paintings and objects from museums, galleries and private collections across Britain and beyond.

What the press and visitors said

"history rivetingly brought to life" ★★★★ The Telegraph

"A terrific exhibition" Jeremy Paxman, The Financial Times

"an absorbing show" ★★★★ Evening Standard

"scandalous characters star alongside royalty" The Times

"Best exhibition I've seen all year" @JudeRHolland

Watch the trailer

Pepys the gossip and socialite

Pepys was a naval mastermind, but he was also a gossip, a socialite and a lover of music, theatre, fine living – and women! He fought for survival on the operating table and in the cut-throat world of public life and politics, successfully navigating his way to wealth and status until his luck, intimately entwined with the King’s fortunes, finally ran out.

From the execution of Charles I to the Glorious Revolution

Using the voice and personality of Samuel Pepys, the exhibition explores the period from the execution of Charles I in 1649 to the Glorious Revolution of 1688. This was a formative era in British history which saw the repositioning of the monarchy and the development of Britain’s place as a maritime, economic and political force on the world stage.

Samuel Pepys and the Royal Society

Did you know that Samuel Pepys became president of the Royal Society - despite very limited scientific knowledge! How did his love of fish almost stop the publication of Isaac Newton's world-changing Principia Mathematica?

Find out more

Delve deeper with our expert Pepys blogs

Explore the Great Fire of London in our fact-packed infographic

Get all the gruesome details of the Great Plague