A Great and Noble Design - Catalogue

Sir James Thornhill carried out his vast painted scheme at Greenwich Hospital between 1707 and 1726 and his achievement remains unrivalled in the history of British art. As work gets underway to conserve Thornhill’s Greenwich masterpiece, his preparatory sketches for this complex cycle of paintings are brought together here for the first time. The history of the commission is traced through 29 drawings across numerous collections. Thornhill emerges as a skilled draughtsman, and one adept at navigating the fraught party politics and regime changes of Augustan Britain.

This fully-illustrated volume is intended as a contribution both to the study of mural painting as a genre, and to efforts to raise the profile of a talented artist hailed, in his day, as ‘our Ingenious Countryman’.