Oil paintings, Fine art, Maritime Art Greenwich

The Collection

Your selection



Buy this image Add this to a collection
Share or embed this object   

Please contact the Picture Library if you would like to use this record and image under licence.

Greenwich Hospital from the Thames

Oil paintings

Object connections:

Collection Oil paintings, Fine art, Maritime Art Greenwich
Gallery locationQH (Floor plans)
PeopleArtist: Roberts, David
Provenance: Dyer & Sons

Object details:

Object ID BHC1826
Description An oil sketch of the fa├žade of Greenwich Hospital seen from the Isle of Dogs on the north side of the Thames. The Union flag is shown flying over the Governor's residence at the river end of the King Charles Court on the right. In the foreground boats have been sketched in on the river with small river craft on the right and a merchant vessel, possibly a brig, on the left. Despite the unfinished feeling of the painting, the artist has suggested an air of calm and stillness through the inclusion of reflections of the buildings on the water. John Ruskin observed that Roberts's prime concern in his oil and watercolour paintings was the depiction not of fleeting atmospheric effects but of the 'constant aspect of any place'. Here he has concentrated on the architectural features of the Hospital and the strong vertical lines enforce and emphasize the sense of permanence of place. Born in Edinburgh, Roberts was apprenticed to a house-painter and then became a theatrical scene-painter, working in collaboration and rivalry with Clarkson Stanfield in London in the 1820s. He developed an interest in exotic places, especially in Egypt and the lands of the Bible, and visited Jerusalem in 1839. His experience as a scene-painter helped him to convey the vistas of towns, deserts and mountains, as well as more detailed interiors of buildings and scenes of local life. Roberts's eastern compositions reached a wide audience through 247 lithographs made by Louis Haghe, later bound into six volumes 1842-49. He also created associated oil paintings, achieving his effects through an ingenious choice of viewpoint which sometimes disregarded topographical accuracy, a balance of light and dark, and the use of strong and vibrant colour. He was elected ARA in 1838 and RA in 1841. Although the East was Roberts's greatest source of inspiration, he also made frequent trips to the Continent from 1824 where his early work in Spain was particularly notable. In the 1860s he began a series of views of the Thames on which he was still engaged at his death. This painting belongs to that period but, unlike other examples, no larger finished version is known.
Date made circa 1860

Artist/Maker Roberts, David
Roberts, David
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Painting: 279.4 x 609.6 mm; Frame: 430 mm x 750 mm; Overall: 7 kg
  • Greenwich Hospital from the Thames (BHC1826)
    Help us

    Do you know more about this?

    Share your knowledge