'Greenwich Hospital and Naval Heroes'
This watercolour was previously recorded as 'Greenwich Hospital 1832, Anniversary of Trafalgar' but is S.P. Denning's watercolour reduction of John Burnet's oil painting exhibited with the above title at the British Institution in 1837. Burnet conceived it as a 'naval' pendant to his friend David Wilkie's earlier painting, commissioned by the Duke of Wellington, of Chelsea Pensioners reading the Waterloo dispatch, which Burnet had already engraved. He had done this using a similar watercolour reduction made by Denning, which was last noted when sold at Sotheby's (British Drawings and Watercolours) on 14 April 1994, lot 373 . He then in turn appears to have used this reduction by Denning to engrave his own oil: his print (see PAI1598) was published in 1836 as 'Greenwich Pensioners celebrating the Battle of Trafalgar' (which they are shown doing in Greenwich Park) with a key identifying many of the participating Greenwich Pensioners, of whom a number of his preparatory oil studies are also in the Museum collection. In 1837 he persuaded the Duke to come and see his original canvas on exhibition, where the latter bought it for 500 guineas, and it is still with the Wilkie in the Wellington collection at Apsley House. Denning was a miniaturist, watercolourist and later the Keeper of Pictures at Dulwich Picture Gallery. [PvdM 3/08]
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