The Pensioner's Story

Set in front of the King Charles Court of Greenwich Hospital, with the Thames out of view to the left, this shows a bearded and uniformed Greenwich Pensioner with a wooden leg, talking to a visiting couple and a young boy. The pensioner leans heavily on a walking stick held in his left hand and he gestures with his right. Behind him to the left, is a waterman holding a boathook in his right hand, while behind the well-dressed couple, to the right, another pensioner sits dozing on a bench.

Although the narrative indicates that after a lifetime of service at sea, retirement will bring peace, the group on the right remain closely together, keeping a distance from the sailor. Their dress suggests a date around 1810, making the composition a consciously historical set-piece, well before Greenwich Hospital finally closed in 1869. The painting has been signed by the artist and is dated 1883. For the artist, see BHC1811.

Object Details

ID: BHC1815
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Davidson, Thomas
Places: Greenwich; Greenwich Hospital
Date made: 1883
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Frame: 1552 mm x 1303 mm x 145 mm;Painting: 1270 mm x 1016 mm

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