Fine art, Oil paintings, Maritime Art Greenwich

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Greenwich Hospital from the East

BHC1823
Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Oil paintings, Maritime Art Greenwich
Gallery locationNot on display
VesselsH.M.S. Dreadnought (1801)

Object details:

Object ID BHC1823
Description A view looking west across the river frontage of Greenwich Hospital. On the left is the Old George Inn, which in 1837 was replaced by the present Trafalgar Tavern, with passenger wherries and local fishing boats moored off what was then one of the main local landing places at the north end of modern Park Row. Beyond the Hospital, here shown flying the Union flag over the Governor's House in the King Charles Court, can be seen Fisher's Alley, or Fisher Lane, the Ship Inn and the buildings around Greenwich landing. A crane is distinctly visible beyond and a number of people have been portrayed on the Five-Foot Walk, in front of the Hospital. The white building near the crane is one of a pair of pavilions terminating each end of the riverfront walk inside the Hospital railings, reportedly erected in 1778 though possibly an enlargement of earlier ones if Canaletto's view of c. 1751-2 is accurate in showing something similar. They no longer survive. On the extreme right, beyond the brig coming downstream, is the hospital ship, 'Dreadnought'. The artist has taken a viewpoint which is low in the water and this has created a dramatic impression and exaggerated the size and extent of the shipping on the river in the foreground, whilst making possible the full sweep of the buildings to the left and in the far distance. The river has been shown as the most significant highway into London, full of shipping and river craft of all sizes. Chambers, the son of a poor mariner in Whitby, Yorkshire, followed his father to sea at the age of ten. After several years he became apprenticed to a house and ship painter where his skill at lettering and marking whale-boats attracted attention. Following his arrival in London he gained support from Christopher Crawford, who kept a Thameside tavern frequented by seamen and later Admiral Mark Kerr, who brought him to the attention of other naval men including eventually King William IV (the 'sailor king'). He would have had far greater success had he lived longer, but died of tuberculosis aged 37 in 1840. Chambers was greatly admired for the details of his marine paintings, particularly those showing details of the crew performing naval tasks. This painting has been signed by the artist and dated 1835. It is a version, though with many differences in the way it is peopled and from a viewpoint slightly further out in the river, of a painting which Queen Adelaide commissioned from him as one of a pair in 1831, with a view of Dover. She was delighted when he delivered them (30 guineas each) in July 1832 and in 1849 bequeathed them to her niece, Queen Victoria. Both remain in the Royal Collection (RCIN405275-76).
Date made 1835

Artist/Maker Chambers, George
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Frame: 1010 mm x 1291 mm x 140 mm;Painting: 698 mm x 1016 mm
Parts
  • Greenwich Hospital from the East (BHC1823)
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