Thursday, April 28, 2011

The view from Greenwich Park Hill

This Easter has been the warmest and sunniest for a very long time. So on Easter Monday we took ourselves off to Greenwich Park and sat on the hill, basked in the sunshine and looked at London.

Easter Monday - The view from Greenwich Park Hill
11" x 16", pencil and coloured pencils in Folio Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
We have a rule which states we never ever get in a car and drive out of London on a bank holiday - especially if it's sunny.  The queues of traffic trying to get back into London in the evening can be horrendous.

So we did the next best thing.  We drove down to the bottom of the Isle of Dogs, admired the Canaletto view of the Old Royal Naval College from Island Gardens and then caught the Docklands Light Railway through to the other side of the River and emerged next to the huge renovation scheme which is the Cutty Sark (it was the victim of a fire - and according to the website will reopen in 2012).

Painted Hall

James Thornhill
We then walked through the ground of the Old Royal Naval College - now the University of Greenwich - a central location within the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site.  We paid a visit to the Painted Hall and admired the paintings commissioned by James Thornhill
 (seen on the right in one of the paintings - with his paint brushes and palette)

Thornhill started his commission in1708 and did not finish until 19 years later in 1728!  What's remarkable about the Hall is it he used a lot of trompe l'oeil to achieve the effect of sculpture.

This Hall - just in front of this painting - was also where Lord Nelson's body lay in state for three days following his death at the Battle of Trafalgar.  30,000 people came to pay their respects before the coffin was moved up the river by barge for the funeral at St Paul's Cathedral.

Having had our history lesson for the day, we then walked across the road and entered the park and walked up the hill until we found somewhere high enough up and reasonably flat where I could sketch.

The main purpose of this expedition was to try out the new portable chairs I'd bought.  In the event I found out that they set up and fold up easily, go in a bad which is easy to carry and are exceptionally comfortable to sit for sketching purposes when the ground is not completely flat!  (Review to follow on Making A Mark Reviews).  Which means they'll be going to Provence!

The sketch shows the view while sat a smidgen to the east of the Greenwich Meridian, just below the Royal Observatory - the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

I'd been watching the excellent documentary on LS Lowry the night before and decided I had to have a go at some matchstick men as here were an enormous number of people in the park sunbathing and enjoying picnics and games.  I discovered matchstick men are not as easy as they look!  I've included nowhere near as many people as were actually there!

I also discovered on the way home that the way to climb hills with my dreadful foot - which is still causing problems - is to walk up backwards.  I looked very silly but it was a lot less painful and a lot faster!

Next time I must remember to sit nearer the top of the hill!
Then home via Waterstones, where I found three new art books to buy(!), and the DLR.

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