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A 17th century drawing by Sir James Thornhill, famously responsible for the Painted Hall, has been found in St Alfege Church archives which were stored at the Heritage Centre (due to close this weekend).
Here's the press release from the church...
A centuries old drawing by the man behind the Painted Hall has been discovered thanks to a National Lottery project.
The 17th century drawing by Sir James Thornhill, an English painter well known for the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, was recently discovered in St Alfege Church archive boxes which were held on loan at Greenwich Heritage Centre. Rebecca Parrant, our newly appointed Heritage Engagement and Interpretation Manager, discovered the sketch tucked away within an envelope containing more modern, unrelated, documents.
The research trip was organised to gather further information as part of the Heart of Greenwich: Place and People project funded by the National Lottery. Rebecca was accompanied by Alison Fisher, postgraduate student, University of Greenwich, who has been awarded a Vice Chancellor's Scholarship to enable her to look into the church's history and its place in the country's local and national heritage, instantly recognised the work. Alison said: “The drawing style and apparent age of the sketch immediately reminded me of the preparatory sketches for the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College”.
The beautiful drawing appears to be in good condition. Within the drawing two sketches appear side by side and both show a composition that comprises an arch supported by two flat pillars. The drawing on the left is titled “Fettering & tormenting St Elphage” and the right-hand drawing is titled “Death of St Elphage”. Initial research suggests that these might have been early concept proposals for the chancel painting at St Alfege Church. The existing painting in the chancel has been attributed to Thornhill’s workshop and was extensively restored by Glyn Jones during the 1946-53 restoration project.
Images of the drawing were sent to Dr Richard Johns from the University of York, who is an expert on Thornhill and a member of the Old Royal Naval College Project Advisory Panel. Dr Richard Johns said: “There's no doubt that the drawings are by Thornhill. The handwriting is as much of a giveaway as the drawing itself. You can see the designs have been sketched in red chalk before being defined in ink—still very provisional, but sufficiently detailed to allow a discussion between artist and patron about the two proposed subjects.”
Thanks to funding from National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), our Heart of Greenwich place and people project will make our heritage accessible to a wider audience and this exciting discovery adds to our rich history. We will be working with a paper conservator to identify ways in which the drawing can be included within the interpretation displays being developed for inside the church.
Commenting on the discovery Vicar Chris Moody said: “We are very excited with this recent discovery as it shows the skills of the craftsmen working in Greenwich and St Alfege Church during the re-building of the church by Hawksmoor. Greenwich Heritage Centre, part of Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, has played an important role in supporting the developmental phase of our Heart of Greenwich project and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with them.
The discovery of the drawing is timely as St Alfege Church celebrates this year, three hundred years of the rededication of Nicholas Hawksmoor’s church building in September 1718. “
Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, said: I’m delighted that money raised by National Lottery players has helped to uncover this sketch by Sir James Thornhill. It is a fantastic addition to the ‘Heart of Greenwich’ project, which will illuminate the rich heritage of St Alfege Church for a wider audience.” ... See MoreSee Less
Cllr Danny Thorpe, Leader of Greenwich Council, has issued this statement about the proposed cruise terminal at Enderby Wharf which was given planning permission several years ago.
*Make cruise terminal 'green' or find another option says Council Leader*
Owners of planned cruise terminal urged to slash project's impact on the environment.
Councillor Danny Thorpe, Leader of Royal Greenwich, said he was "hugely disappointed" developers had not yet responded to his calls for them to address the impact on pollution and air quality of the Enderby Wharf plan.
Following concerns raised by residents, the Royal Borough invited the site developers to hold talks about making the cruise liner more green or else come up with an alternative scheme that would secure more affordable housing and an alternative employment use on the site.
'Working hard to improve air quality'
Cllr Thorpe said: "I'm hugely disappointed that no sensible proposal has yet been received from the site owner. It is vital that the borough secures a well-balanced proposal that includes a sufficient amount of genuinely affordable housing alongside employment opportunities for local people.
"We are working hard to improve air quality across the borough and recognise that it is a significant concern for all residents. I want to assure residents that we are doing all we can to seek a resolution to this issue.
"I'm publicly calling on the developer to urgently come back to the table with sensible and meaningful proposals that address the concerns of the community, as well as ensuring any new scheme complies with our planning policies.
"We are aware that the site is up for sale and given this, we think it is an excellent opportunity for the developer to pause and reflect."
Existing Section 106 obligations
The Council cannot revoke the planning consent granted. However, it will not consider varying or amending any of the existing Section 106 obligations if asked by the owner or any subsequent owner unless there is a strong planning case for the changes proposed. Any formal decision would be with the Council's Planning Board.
Mayor of London support
The Leader of Greenwich Council has met with the Mayor of London, who is in full support of the Council's position. Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues, said:
"The Mayor and I have been clear that we are extremely concerned about the potential impact on air pollution and emissions of the Enderby Wharf development. The Mayor is fully supportive of Greenwich Council's strong stance in seeking a solution which includes additional measures to cut emissions and protect public health.
"Over the last 18 months I have met all the stakeholders - including the council, the developer and the cruise terminal operator - and we will continue to support them in their negotiations."
Resident opposition to the terminal has focused on the decision to not have an onshore power source for ships docking there. This means power will instead come from ships' on-board diesel engines, rather than a local electricity supply. ... See MoreSee Less
There should not be " or else come up with an alternative scheme that would secure more affordable housing and an alternative employment use on the site." This will be a medical disaster, the pollution levels will increase greatly and you Mr Thorpe will be party to more breathing related deaths.3 days ago · 2
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