British artist Finn Campbell-Notman has been named as the winner of the Sky Arts’ Landscape Artist of the Year for his creation of a contemporary seascape inspired by the work of 17th century marine painters, Willem van de Velde the Elder and his son, Willem van de Velde the Younger. Campbell-Notman’s work, Fail We May, Sail We Must, has gone on display at the Queen’s House in Greenwich which is currently hosting the new exhibition, The Van de Veldes: Greenwich, Art and the Sea. The new painting was inspired by Campbell-Notman’s personal experience as he found out more about the Van de Veldes while travelling in The Netherlands. “My approach to landscape painting is that a painting is rarely, if ever, a direct transcription from a single view, even those painted en plein air,” Campbell-Notman said in a statement. “One composes and constructs, simplifies, rearranges and perhaps adds certain elements to create a picture. The finished painting is thus a record of a dialogue with what is seen and what is reflected within and want I to transmit; between what is seen and what is felt.” For more, see www.rmg.co.uk/queens-house.
The Queen's House
10 historic stairways in London – 1. The Tulip Stairs, The Queen’s House, Greenwich…
London has many beautiful stairways – and some of them have some incredible historic connections. In this series, we’re going to be looking at 10 of them and the history that goes with them. First up, it’s the spectacular Tulip Stairs found in The Queen’s House in Greenwich.
The wrought-iron stairs – which have the honour of being the first self-supporting spiral stair in the UK (meaning each tread is cantilevered from the wall and supported by the stair below rather than being supported by a central pillar) – were designed by Inigo Jones in 1635.
They are so named because the stairs, which are topped with a glass lantern, feature a flower pattern on the railings which resembles tulips although it is thought the flowers could be actually French lilies designed to compliment the Queen at the time of their completion.
For while Jones originally designed the house for Queen Anne of Denmark, wife of King James I, the building was unfinished and the stairs weren’t in place when she died in 1619. It was Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I and daughter of French King Henry IV, who was Queen when he completed the property.
The stairs were at the centre of a ghost sighting in the mid 1960s when retired Canadian clergyman Rev RW Hardy took a photograph while visiting the house with his wife which appeared to show a couple of spectral figures on the staircase. The couple were both adamant that the stair was clear when the photo was taken and the mystery of the image, despite subsequent investigations, apparently remains unsolved.
WHERE: The Tulip Stairs, The Queen’s House, Greenwich (nearest stations are Cutty Sark DLR, Greenwich Station and Maze Hill Station or by water, Greenwich Pier); WHEN: Daily 10am to 5pm (but check the website for closures); COST: Free (but a prebooked ticket is required); WEBSITE: www.rmg.co.uk/queens-house.