Steel engraving after the painting by George Chambers, engraved by J.B. Allen. Published by James S. Virtue, circa 1859.
Image size: 7" x 10 1/4", plus title and margins.
This engraving, published in the Art Journal, of Chambers' original painting of 1835 in the Royal Collection, shows an unusual view of the east end of Greenwich Hospital. The crane - hence Crane Street - is prominent. The George Tavern, shown down river of the Hospital, was demolished shortly after the painting was finished, to be replaced by the Trafalgar Tavern (1837). By the time this engraving was published, over twenty years later, it presented a dramatically outdated image of the Greenwich riverside.
The original accompanying description to this engraving stated:
George Chambers was the son of a common seaman, at Whitby, in Yorkshire, and passed his youth as a cabin-boy and apprentice on trading vessels' managing to get his indentures cancelled, he began his art-education by taking service with a woman who kept an oil and colour shop in his native town, with th egreatest industry contriving to paint - and what was more - to sell certain small pictures, almost always of ships. At the end of three years he worked his way up to London by sea, and started there as an artist. This step oncer taken, he soon obtained the situation of scene-painter at the Pavilion Theatre, where he came under the notice of Admiral Lord Mark Kerr. By his lordship's notice at Court, Chambers was commanded to attend at Windsor Castle, that their Majesties, King William and Queen Adelaide, might see his portfolio of drawings and sketches. "their Majesties looked over his sketches for the choice of subjects: the King fixed upon a stormy scene; but his consort, with feminine softness, expressed her dislike of it as too dismal. Our sailor-sovereign immediately spoke out in the blunt phraseology of an old commodore: 'Oh, ma'am, we sailors like these boisterous scenes the best - eh, Mr Chambers?' Accordingly, the man-of-war monarch made choice of a sea-fight, while the Queen chose a calm coast-scene at Dover; and in addition to these, Chambers painted a view of Greenwich Hospital for the Queen, and the opening of New London Bridge for the King." It is the picture of Greenwich Hospital, now in the collection at Osborne, which is here engraved. It was painted about the year 1836, and, consequently, the view diifers in many material points from that which the locality now presents: all the old picturesque buildings in th eforeground have been removed to make way for the "Trafalgar," of whitebait-dinner notoriety: th epier, at th efarther end of the Hospital, and the railed-in walk, both of which are more recent additions, do not appear: we do not think, however, that the picture loses any of its attractions by the omissions.
£50.00 unmounted, unframed.