An Historical Account Of The Royal Hospital For Seamen At Greenwich.

RA Collection: Book

Record number


Variant Title

History of Greenwich Hospital


London:: Sold For The Authors By G. Nicol, Pall-Mall; T. Cadell, Strand; J. Walter, Charing-Cross; G.G.J. And J. Robinson, Pater-Noster-Row; And At the Chapel Of The Hospital. Entered at Stationers=Hall.

Physical Description

viii, 142 p., frontis. (fold.), [3] pl.; 266 mm. (Quarto).

General Note

Page 89 is misnumbered as 86.


[Frontis., t.p., dedic.] - Contents - Introduction - [Text, with pl.]

Responsibility Note

The frontispiece and the three plates are signed as engraved by James Newton.The frontispiece is also signed as drawn by Thos. Lancey.

Each plate carries the imprint, 'Publish(e)d Sept(embe)r 22d. 1789 by the Revd. (Messrs.) John Cooke & John Maule A.M. (Chaplains)'.

The work is dedicated by 'the authors, John Cooke and John Maule' to the Commissioners and Governors of the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich.


ESTC, T88923
RIBA, Early printed books, 5 (2003), no.3807, p.2559-60.

Summary Note

This guide describes the former Royal Naval Hospital at Greenwich, originally designed in 1664 by John Webb as a palace, and afterwards adapted for use as a Naval Hospital by Sir Christopher Wren, with the assistance of Nicholas Hawksmoor (1696-1752). The Painted Hall was decorated by James Thornhill (1708-1727), and the Chapel remodelled by James Stuart (1779-1789). At the centre of this magnificent baroque complex stands Inigo Jones's earlier Queen's House (1616-1638). The buildings were in use as a Naval Hospital from 1705 to 1869.

The text includes 'A List of the present Directors ... [and other office-holders] from the Institution to the present Time' (p. 133-142).

The plates show: 'A Perspective View of the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich, taken from the River Thames' (folding frontis.); 'Elevation of the East front of the Infirmary' (facing p. 117); 'Elevation of the East front of the Boys School and Dormitory' (facing p. 125); 'A View of the Ancient Royal Palace, call'd Placentia, in East Greenwich' (facing p. 131).

Immediate source of Acquisition

Copy 1: Presented by , Mrs Augusta Thackeray, , 21 June 1865.
Copy 2: Presented by , John Yenn RA, , acknowledged 1 March 1790 (RA Council Minutes II, 99).


Copy 1: The front pastedown bears the engraved armorial bookplate of John Yenn. Probably a presentation copy to Yenn who had succeeded Sir Robert Taylor as Surveyor of Greenwich Hospital in 1788.
Copy 2 [10/3065]: Front free-endpaper inscribed in ink: 'presented to the Academy by Jno Yenn'

Binding Note

Copy 1: Contemporary black straight-grain morocco; upper and lower covers with elaborately decorated neo-classical gilt-tooled borders; red morocco title-label at centre of upper cover lettered in gilt 'History / Of / Greenwich / Hospital.'; the arms of the Royal Hospital stamped in gilt at centre of lower cover; gilt-tooled spine in six compartments without lettering.
Copy 2 [10/3065]: Contemporary tree calf, gilt roll-tooled borders, re-backed retaining original gilt-tooled spine in six compartments with red morocco title-label lettered in gilt 'Royal / Hospital / Of / Greenwich'.

Name as Subject


Architecture - Palaces - Hospitals - Housing for the Handicapped - Housing for the Elderly - Seamen - Great Britain - London - History - 17th century - 18th century - Baroque
Guidebooks - Views - Elevations - Great Britain - London - 18th century
Armorial bindings - Great Britain - 18th century


John Cooke, author
Thomas Cadell the elder, bookseller
John Maule, author
George Nicol, bookseller
John Walter, bookseller
James Newton, engraver
Thomas Lancey, draughtsman
John Yenn RA, previous owner, donor
Augusta Thackeray, donor
Royal Naval Hospital (Greenwich, London), dedicatee