Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich

Beraldi, 28: Wentworth, 36. A view west from a dining table in the eastern ground-floor bay window of the Trafalgar Tavern (built 1837). The artist (and viewer) has his back to the river and an undisturbed table setting of cutlery, three glasses and cruet before him on a white cloth, with part of another setting visible on the other side of the table. Through the framing open window, he looks towards a group of four top-hatted gentlemen sitting outside in the small balcony of the western bay. One of these is leaning, back to the river, on the parapet, half turned toward the viewer, his attention attracted by three urchin children mud-larking on the half-tide river foreshore below. One boy bends over in the river shallows, while another, with a small girl, looks up touching his forelock, as if to beg for a coin to be thrown down.

A Thames workboat is tied up on the shingle under the river wall at the end of the Five-Foot Walk, with figures at the railings above, including a well-dressed boy and gentleman whose attention is also caught by the children. In the distance, beyond the corner of the Queen Anne Court of the Royal Naval College (Greenwich Hospital) is the silhouetted outline of the Ship Hotel at Greenwich Pier, with shipping in the river to the right.

Dramatic impact is created by the contrast between the enlarged interior foreground and window details and the narrative they frame: the four elegant gentlemen, looking inward in conversation, form one corner of a triangle with the bare-footed urchins below and the boy observing above, from a similar viewpoint to the artist. The effect is concentrated by the architectural density and detail on the left and lower part of the image and the plain sky area, upper right - although a later state loses this, having a heavily worked stormy sky creating a much more sombre overall effect. The artist's signature 'JJ. Tissot/ 1878' is integral to the plate, lower left. He also painted a similar view of the Trafalgar in oil.

Object Details

ID: PAG9434
Collection: Fine art
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Tissot, Jacques-Joseph (James)
Places: Unlinked place
Date made: 1878
People: Tissot, Jacques-Joseph (James)
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Mount: 353 mm x 250 mm

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