Naval School Greenwich & Block Model Ship
Uncoloured steel engraving published by Rock & Co. London, circa 1850.
Size of sheet: 5 1/4 " x 7 1/4"
Generally good condition throughout, some time staining, traces of a central vertical crease.
A scarce, and enchanting view of a lost aspect of Greenwich: the training ship on the lawn in front of, and largely obscuring, The Queen's House, (then Greenwich Hospital School) with the Observatory seeming to float on a verdant sea beyond. In the rigging, the rows of diminutive matchstick figures, ever diminishing as they ascend into the atmosphere, are the boys 'manning the yards', preparing them for a life on the ocean wave. This engraving shows Princess Royal which stood between 1843-1861, and was the first of four training ships on this site. The final ship named Fame was derigged in the 1920s and finally demolished in 1933.
An early impression of this print, later versions are numbered 441, in Rock's extensive series of Topographical Vignettes. Between 1845 and 1870, William Frederick Rock published over 5000 of these small engravings, depicting views in England and Wales, as illustrated writing paper, and they may be regarded as the precursor of picture postcards.