From the large oil painting by Leonard Knyff to the small watercolour by George Cruikshank of The Terrace, Richmond Hill – the Museum’s displays include a variety of depictions of Richmond throughout history.
Having considerable artistic merit, these views also offer the visitor a fascinating insight into how Richmond’s appearance progressively changed over the years. These paintings also underline the fact that many of the most attractive features of the area can still be appreciated today; including the beautiful views along the River Thames, the elegant houses and the Wardrobe (remnant of Richmond Palace) lining Richmond Green, as well as the The Terrace on Richmond Hill.
The Terrace and View from Richmond Hill – attributed to Leonard Knyff (1650-1722).
Oil on Canvas. On long-term loan from Orleans House Gallery, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.
This work has been dated circa 1710-1720. It shows a magnificent view of the River Thames winding it’s way through the valley below, seen from the heights of Richmond Hill. Happily some aspects of this lovely view remain unchanged today due to the meadows in the foreground now belonging to a conservation area.
Nonetheless, unsurprisingly, significant changes to the area are easily observable; the road leading up Richmond Hill is now surfaced and lined with pavements, railings, apartment blocks and tall Georgian houses and the whole area of the middle ground has been extensively urbanised over the succeeding centuries.
In depicting the Roebuck Tavern (dating from c. 1700) in the foreground, this painting also highlights one of Richmond’s original attractions as a convenient coaching spot for travellers to stop on their way to and from the centre of London. Many other well known local landmarks and buildings are also easily identifiable in this painting; including the grand house next to the Thames in the middle distance, which is Trumpeter’s House, The Mansion on Twickenham bank, Bishop Duppa’s Almshouses (founded 1661) Sion House and even, visible in the distance, Isleworth Church Tower .