National Maritime Museum: Royal River Exhibition
Recently, I visited the Royal River exhibition in the new Sammy Ofer Wing at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. The exhibition's sub-title, "Power, Pagentry and the Thames" is very apt in the lead up to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in a couple of weeks. On entering the Royal River space, the first exhibit is the Canaletto from the Lobkowicz Collection. This painting demands attention: not just for the skill of the artist but to look closely at the river to imagine where today's landmarks and buildings might be. Also, if you look carefully, there is a bit of 'port-starboard' action going on but I'm not sure the ColRegs were around in the 1750s!
One reason why the Thames was so popular for pageants, around this time, was because the roads between royal palaces were so bad. It was in fact quicker to travel by royal barge than be bounced around in a carriage. Today, given the co