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At Greenwich, 1826 f17

At Greenwich, 1826 f17

Artist: Scharf, George senior

Medium: Pencil on paper

Date: 1826

Shelfmark: Additional MS 36489A

Item number: f17

Length: 13.8

Width: 23.8

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Topographical Drawing

This sketch depicts Queens House, seen nestled between the imposing Queen Mary and King William Courts at Greenwich. The Royal Observatory is located on the hill in the distance.

The town of Greenwich derives its name from Old English, meaning 'green harbour' or 'port'. It became popular in the 16th century, when Henry VIII holidayed there, and its popularity with royalty and gentry increased during the reign of Elizabeth I, who quarantined herself from the Black Death in the Queen's Palace in Greenwich Park. This drawing shows the collection of buildings that constitute the Royal Naval College, a superb Baroque pile designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The site was formerly the Greenwich Hospital, established in 1694 by Royal Charter for the support of seamen and their dependants. The hospital remained in operation until 1869 when it became a training centre for the Royal Navy. Today the site is occupied by Greenwich University and Trinity College of Music. King William Court, seen to the right in this drawing, possesses one of the greatest painted halls in Europe. Sir James Thornhill was commissioned to paint the hall, which took 19 years to complete. It is said that the artist was not entirely happy about the late payment for this monumental task, and has pictured himself on one of the walls holding out his open hand to the King.

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