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image SM volume 111/10

Reference number

SM volume 111/10


[6/6] Design for revisions to the base wing of King Charles II Building, c.1705-6, incorporating pavilions with balustraded attics and a new frontage to the central pedimented entrance pavilion.




About 12 feet to 1 inch


In pen and brown ink by C18 hand, at bottom centre, Part of Greenwich Hospital

Signed and dated

  • Undated, but datable 1705-06

Medium and dimensions

Pen and brown ink with grey wash over graphite under-drawing; on laid paper, inlaid on mount; 125 x 570


John James


Strasbourg Lily / 4WR / CAW (?)(intertwined)


The drawing can be attributed to John James from comparisons with [10/1] (SM, 111/9). It probably post-dates James's appointment as store keeper and measurer in February 1705, and could have been prepared in connection with the works agreed by the Directors in March 1706 for 'finishing the South End of King Charles's wing with plain ashler and plaister and a Portland fascia, according to a design laid before the Board' (Wren Society, VI, p. 52).

In the Warrant design drawings of April 1696 the base wing of the King Charles II Building has hipped roofs over the attics of its end pavilions rather than the balustraded attics shown here. It also has a a curved rather than a triangular pediment over the central pavilion (see Wren Society, VI, pl. 9). The Warrant design was revised before the start of work in June 1696: the depth of the base wing was increased by 3 or 4 feet, the end pavilions were redesigned with flat roofs behind parapets, the windows were grouped more closely together, and the boader angle piers were given banded brick quoins (see [5/1]).

The present drawing was probably prepared soon after February 1705. One of its purposes would have been to bring the end and central pavilions of the base wing closer to the treatment envisaged in the model of 1699 (see [6], Introduction). In the model, the end pavilions have balustraded attics and applied orders at the angles. The pavilions were built in brick, and with quoins rather than applied orders. They are shown in this form in Jan Griffier the Elder's painting, 'Royal Yachts on the Thames with Greenwich beyond' of c.1712 (see Bold 2000, back cover illustration). In November 1711, when the decision was taken to take down the north pavilion of the base wing, it was referred to as 'the Pavilion of brick at the North-West Angle' (Wren Society, VI, p. 65).

On 18 September 1707 Hawksmoor was ordered to 'prepare a scheme for finishing all the remaining parts of the West Side of the Hospitall, and the Columnade there ... that the same may be put in order to be finished next summer' (Ibid., p. 57). The work was not completed, for in March the following year the Directors ordered 'that no further expense be made in finishing the West Side, but what is absolutely necessary for closing what is now in hand'. This drawing is probably connected with the 1707 proposals, as it would still have been current at that time.

The central door frame, with its small-scale quoin details, does not appear to have been executed in this form.


Wren Society, VI, pl. 20



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