London from Greenwich
About the work
An old man with a wooden stump for a leg, presumably an inmate of Greenwich Hospital, climbs the hill towards to the Royal Observatory, accompanied by a young boy. They are heading towards a telescope, which has a basket below, perhaps to encourage the public to pay for its use. This topographical print by Thomas Shotter Boys presents the viewer with three buildings by Sir Christopher Wren: Greenwich Observatory at the extreme left foreground; Greenwich Hospital (later the Royal Naval College) in the middle ground; and the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral in the far distance.
‘London from Greenwich’ is one of a series of prints by Boys, published in 1842 as ‘Original Views of London, as it is’. The series stands within a tradition of pictorial representations of London but is distinguished by the artist’s endeavour to portray the incidental detail of life in the city, rather than simply depicting the architectural or topographical environment.
About the artist
Thomas Shotter Boys was born in Pentonville, North London. He was apprenticed to engraver George Cook, before moving to Paris during the 1820s. There he met Richard Parkes Bonington, with whom he worked. He returned to England in 1837 and initially engraved the designs of other artists and contributed to publications. In 1839, Boys produced his own publication, ‘Picturesque Architecture in Paris, Ghent and Antwerp’, the first English book with lithographic plates entirely in colour. He was elected a member of the New Water Colour Society in 1841 and in the following year published ‘Original Views of London As It Is’. Boys spent the last 20 years of his life teaching drawing and working as a lithographer. He died aged 71 in St John's Wood.
- London from Greenwich
- Coloured lithograph
- Purchased from Vicars Bros, September 1955
- GAC number