Fisher's Alley, Greenwich
Signed and dated 'C. Stanfield R.A. 1848' and titled 'Fisher's Alley' (all by the artist on the original mount). This records what was more usually called Fisher Lane, which approached the north-west side of the King Charles Court of Greenwich Hospital behind waterfront buildings on the present site of Greenwich Pier, until the whole area was cleared in the 1840s. The sign of the old Ship Tavern can be seen at the far end of the lane. Stanfield originally drew the scene almost identically as an illustration to Captain Marryat's novel 'Poor Jack' (1840) facing p.16, where it was described thus (pp.16-17): 'Fisher's Alley is a very narrow street and what is said in a room on one side can be heard on the other ... there were drunken men and drunken women and occasionally scolding and fighting. My mother ... had taken the lease of a house ... and every day I heard her saying at the door, "Walk in gentlemen; I've a nice clean room and boiling hot water" - for the seamen used to come in to take tea, drink and smoke - and so did the old [Greenwich] pensioners occasionally.' This version, like the original, shows the tea-house, left, with a pensioner outside, and an oyster dealer on the other side of the alley. It is, however, a souvenir re-drawing, which Stanfield did following demolition of the street by Greenwich Hospital and which he presented to the Hospital Board in September 1848, four years after he was appointed Honorary Curator of the Naval Gallery in the Painted Hall. For other related drawings by Stanfield for 'Poor Jack' in the collection see notes to PAF6068. [PvdM 9/04; amended 10/08]
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