This view of Greenwich from the south-east was painted in about 1675. The old Woolwich Road is shown passing through the Queen's House, the large building furthest to the left in the middle foreground. In the middle distance to the right, next to the river, is the new 'King's House', the east range of what is now the King Charles Court of the old Royal Naval College, formerly Greenwich Hospital. This had just reached the end of its incomplete first stage of construction as a palace for Charles II when Pepys visited Greenwich in 1669. Pepys wrote in his diary 'thence, to Greenwich by water, and there landed at the King's house, which goes on slow, but is very pretty. I to the park, there to see the prospect of the hill to judge of Dancre's picture which he hath made thereof for me; I do like it very well-and it is a very pretty place'. It is traditionally believed that Pepys commissioned this work. The couple walking in the foreground of the painting may well be portraits of Pepys and his wife, and the artist sketching to the left may be Danckerts himself. The woman climbing the hill in the centre is as yet unidentified. Pepys recorded that he ordered four large paintings from Danckerts of the four palaces of Whitehall, Hampton Court, Windsor and Greenwich. In the distance the buildings of London are visible, including the burnt-out shell of St Paul's following the fire of 1666. The artist was a Dutch-born painter who in 1657 came with his brother Johannes to work in England. He became court painter to Charles II who commissioned him to paint views of royal properties and harbours.
Where to see this painting?
National Maritime Museum
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