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At Greenwich, 1817

At Greenwich, 1817

Artist: Scharf, George senior

Medium: Pencil on paper

Date: 1817

Shelfmark: Additional MS 36489A

Item number: f18

Length: 14

Width: 17

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Topographical Drawing

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. These drawings show 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 in these drawings, 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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