Barton Aqueduct, Barton-upon-Irwell, Lancashire, England
Pen and grey and brown ink and watercolour over traces of pencil. This shows the Greenwich stairs next to the Salutation Inn with the Royal Hospital for Seamen (now the Royal Naval College) beyond. Rowlandson’s friend Henry Angelo later recalled that Rowlandson `was frequently making his sketches at Greenwich, his favourite resort, both for shipping and scenes relative to the assemblage of sailors…’ (see Angelo’s Pic Nic’; or, Table Talk, 1834, pp. 144-5).
A slightly smaller version of this view is the Mellon Collection in the Yale Center for British Art (see John Riely, Rowlandson Drawings from the Paul Mellon Collection, exhibition catalogue, 1978, no. 72, ill. Pl. XXVIII) and another was sold from the Ingram collection at Sotheby’s on 8th December 2005, lot 171 for £15,000.
This drawing belonged to the composer Sir William Walton whose 1925 overture `Portsmouth Point’ was inspired by a Rowlandson print of the same name. It depicts in musical form the life of British sailors in the eighteenth century.
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