This view of London, from the hillside in Greenwich Park, looks across the Thames River to St Paul’s Cathedral in the background. In the left of the foreground, people spend their leisure time strolling along pathways through the park. The strong shadows of the trees and clear sky above indicate that the weather is bright and sunny.
Greenwich Park is the oldest enclosed royal park. The land was inherited by the Duke of Gloucester, brother of Henry V, in 1427. It became the birthplace of Henry VIII as well as his two daughters Mary I and Elizabeth I. As an enthusiast for hunting, Henry VIII first introduced the deer to the park in 1515 and deer are still found there today.
During World War II anti-aircraft guns were concealed in the park’s flower garden and the tops of some trees were removed in order to clear the line of fire. However, the park was restored after the War and many of the trees first planted in the early 1660s still survive today.
Joseph Farington was born in Leigh, Lancashire, son of the vicar of Leigh and rector of Warrington. He was educated in Manchester and studied under Richard Wilson in London from 1763. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1769 and became an Academician in 1785. His strength was in pen, ink and wash drawings of topographical views. He made extensive sketching tours of the UK and settled in the North Country from 1776. Works made there led to the publication ‘Views of the Lakes of Cumberland and Westmorland’ (1785). In 1780 he suffered a breakdown after his wife died. In the next year he moved to London. He died on a visit to his brother in Lancashire, when he fell down steps at Didsbury Church. His personal diaries were published in 1934.
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