Canaletto – Goodwood Art Collection (not on their site). The Thames and the City of London from Richmond House (1747)
Materials: oil on canvas. Dimensions: 105 x 117.5 cm. Nr.:? Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Canaletto_london.jpg
The majestic sweep of the river, leading to a skyline dominated by St Paul’s Cathedral, forms the focus of this canvas, which was made as a companion picture for The Whitehall and the Privy Garden from Richmond House. Canaletto has succeeded in creating an extraordinary sense of spaciousness: with the combination of calm water, bright clear morning light and an untroubled sky, he has brought to the London scene some of that clarity of vision, and pleasure in celebrating the attractions of a great city that he had earlier applied to Venice.
The terraces in the foreground belong to Richmond House and, at the left, Montagu House. The figures on them parade, converse, and in a leisurely manner watch the spectacle of the river in the sunshine. While a number of smaller boats skull about on it, two larger decorated barges belonging to the City of London, make their way upstream. A related drawing of the scene shows a broader view, with far more traffic on the Thames.
The vertical emphases of the church spires, chimneys at the left, and mooring posts in the foreground, all carefully anchor and balance the composition, which is principally ordered by the horizon and gentle diagonals of the river bank (http://www.wga.hu/index1.html).
Canaletto – Goodwood Art Collection. London: Whitehall and the Privy Garden from Richmond House (1747)
Materials: oil on canvas. Dimensions: 106.7 x 116.8 cm. Nr.:? Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/89/Giovanni_Antonio_Canal%2C_il_Canaletto_-_London_-_Whitehall_and_the_Privy_Garden_from_Richmond_House_-_WGA03943.jpg
This work and its companion picture (The Thames and the City of London from Richmond House), have become the most widely admired paintings executed by Canaletto during his stay in England. They were painted for the Duke of Richmond, and probably based upon sketches made from views from the upper windows of his London home, Richmond House. The Duke himself is depicted with a servant in the courtyard at the lower right.
Whitehall is shown as an open space surrounded by small buildings, unfamiliar to modern Londoners accustomed to vast government offices covering the area. The Tudor Treasury Gate at the left was demolished in 1759 to ease the flow of traffic, but the Banqueting House, left of centre in the middle-distance, and church of St Martin-in-the-Fields beyond and to the right of it, remain.
A sense of order has been imposed on the urban sprall; the main buildings lie parallel to the picture plane, and the perspective is conveniently established by the walls and pathways which run towards the centre of the composition. Everything – from the chickens in the foreground to the houses half a mile away – is observed with a crispness of equal insistence, so creating a vivid record of this unexpected view of the capital during the reign of George II.
Canaletto later reinterpreted the scene from a lower viewpoint, and produced an even wider panorama (one of his most spectacular), which includes a view of the Thames at the left (http://www.wga.hu/html_m/c/canalett/7/canal704.html).