Sunday, 20 April 2014

Turner and the Sea

We have been wanting to go to Greenwich and an art exhibit gave us a perfect opportunity. The National Maritime Museum was an appropriate venue for an exhibit of JM Turner seascapes. We visited recently and learned about this prolific 19th century painter of seascapes.
We took a river bus from the Embankment in London to Greenwich, about a half hour trip down the Thames.

 We were impressed with the borough of Greenwich, which is a city in its own right. It reminded us of Annapolis with the Royal Naval College, the Royal Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory. It also has plenty of pubs, restaurants and a wonderful market. 

This study of Turner's maritime paintings was quite thorough including massive oil paintings, watercolors and sketches. His later paintings were not realistic seascapes as are his earlier works. They were more impressionistic and were our favorites. 

The museum was very busy as it was Easter holidays. But we did enjoy an exhibit "Traders: the East India Company and Asia" in the which included the story of the East India Company. We agreed that it must gave been an exciting time. 
From the museum website:
Traders: the East India Company and Asia is a new permanent gallery exploring Britain’s maritime trade with Asia, focusing on the role played by the East India Company.
For over 250 years, the East India Company uniquely shaped trade between Britain and Asia. The gallery explores the influence of Company trade and power, tracing the changing relationships between Britain and Asia that this brought about.
This trade involved key commodities, different locations and many people. It had consequences that changed Britain and the world and still affect us today.

Love this display of figureheads. 

After the museum we had a delicious lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant and went to Good Friday services at the local church, Our Lady Star of the Sea. 
We still had time to go to the Royal Oservatory which is SO interesting. It's rich history links astronomy, time and navigation. 
The prime meridian (Longitude 000*00'00") passes through Greenwich, there was a long queue to get a photo, this photo of a random family straddling the date line will have to do. 

The museum outlines the history of the Observatory and role of astronomers in the the development of the sight which is on top of Crooms Hill. 

There is a house to visit where the Royal Astronomer lived until 1955. John Flamsteed was the first and held the job for 42 years. He was appointed by Charles II to study the motion of the heavens to assist ship captains as they began to navigate the seas. Sir Christopher Wren was tasked with designing the Observatory.  There is a very clever Steampunk exhibit currently in the Flamsteed House. The house is full of telescope, sextants, compasses and other instrument for measuring the celestial heavens. 
There are also many time keeping instruments. 

One last stop was on the agenda, the Victorian clipper, Cutty Sark. It traveled from Sydney, Australia to London, England in 72 days, a record for the time. It also made several trips to Shanghia, China and brought tea to England. 

Greenwich is charming and deserves a full day to appreciate all it has to offer.  We wish we had a longer visit to explore more, but we really did see quite a bit in the short time we were there. Check Greenwich off our bucket list!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear from you! Please consider leaving a comment!