Greenwich

By HOLLAR, Wenceslaus, 1637 
£4,000

Grænwich

London British Isles
  • Author: HOLLAR, Wenceslaus
  • Publication date: 1637 [but c1642].
  • Physical description: Etched print on two sheets joined, trimmed to neatline, some creases and old repairs.
  • Dimensions: 150 by 834mm. (6 by 32.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 18624

Notes

Hollar’s panoramic view of Greenwich encompasses many of the features that made the seventeenth century town an important location, from Greenwich Palace to the buildings of the City of London visible in the background. From the top of a hill, the Thames can be seen extending into the distance, small and large vessels alike on its waters, while the nearby land is taken up by fields and buildings alike. Large clouds loom overhead and two female figures stand on the hillside. ??Just to their left is an ornate cartouche containing the dedication to Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I, although the text was changed in later editions.

In the centre is shown the facade of Queen’s House, originally commissioned by Queen Anne and then granted by Charles to Henrietta Maria, with Inigo Jones completing a new wing. Standing to the left, on the site of what would soon become the Royal Observatory, is Greenwich Palace, the birthplace of many Tudor monarchs and a favourite hunting lodge among the London nobility. During the Civil War, the palace was used as a biscuit factory and prisoner-of-war camp, and large parts were destroyed. Following the conflict, both palace and park were seized to serve as the mansion’ of the Lord Protector during the Interregnum. Although King Charles II would later make ambitious plans for a new palace, finances never allowed these to come to fruition.

The panorama was one of the earliest views of London made by Hollar, created the year that he arrived in England with Thomas, Duke of Norfolk. The present example is the third state, in which four lines of Latin are found in the cartouche, along with the signature of Hen: Pechamus’. This state therefore dates before 1643, when Peacham died. 

Bibliography

  1. NHG Hollar 246 III
  2. Pennington 977iii
  3. BM 1855,0609.23.
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