Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A Canaletto View

A Canaletto View
(the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich from Island Gardens on the Isle of Dogs)
8" x 10", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencil in Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This a very famous view
of a World Heritage Site and one of the most striking buildings in London - which has been painted by Antonio Canal (Canaletto).

On Saturday, we went for a walk around the south end of the Isle of Dogs, starting at Burrells Wharf where Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Great Eastern was built and launched and walking east along the Thameside Path and then looped back through the Mudchute , which is a 40 acre urban Farm - the largest in Europe.

The photo on the left is of Brunel at the launch of the Great Eastern - the largest ship in the world in the mid nineteenth century. Part of the slipway is still preserved.

Next to this was a colour works

Half way along our walk was Island Gardens and right across the river from island Gardens is this view. This is the site of the former Greenwich Palace, one of King Henry VIII's favourite hunting lodges. The layout and the architecture of what exists on the site today was designed by Sir Christopher Wren - with significant assistance from a number of other prominent architects. The hospital closed in 1869 and the building became the Royal Naval College - opening in 1973. The navy finally departed from the site in 1998. The building at the front of the site is now known as the Old Royal Naval College and is managed by the Greenwich Foundation and is home to part of Greenwich University.

The Queens House and Maritime Art in Greenwich.
The Queen's House can be seen between the two towers at the base of the hill in Greenwich Park. It houses the Maritime Art Collection in the National Maritime Museum - which contains a number of views of the site including the one from the North Bank of the Thames by Canaletto (click on the painting for a larger image).

The Gothenborg and the Cutty Sark
As I sketched pleasure boats came past with varying degrees of noisiness but they were all completely upstaged by the ship you can see in my photo. We were completely amazed to see the Gothenborg coming past, especially when the ship fired its cannons as it came past the Cutty Sark.

This ship is an exact Swedish replica of an
18th century Dutch East India merchant vessel which sailed out of London 262 years ago in 1745. It was built in 2002 and is the only ship like it in the world. It's just been on a visit to London.

For anybody reading this who is not aware, the Cutty Sark (a very famous - and fast - tea clipper located just to the west of the Old Naval College) was severely damaged by fire on 21st May 2007. You can see the masts of the Cutty Sark on this video of the panoramic view of the Maritime Heritage site from where I was sitting. We could see the blackened timbers from the other side of the river. Visit this link if you want to find out more about what happened and would like to consider contributing to its restoration. The Visitor Centre has now reopened.

"He who must not be bored while I sketch" and I were following a walk set out in a rather interesting book of walks in London called "Walking London's Docks, Rivers and Canals" by Gilly Cameron Cooper. It appears to be a very reliable book with a number of excellent walks.



  1. AnonymousJune 06, 2007

    This really is a lovely view, and you've done a great job of capturing it. My wife is a professor at the University of Greenwich, so we know this area well.

  2. Thanks Dave - and it's always nice to receive such a comment from one who knows the view well! :D


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