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Picturing the 18th-century port

Introduction
Illustrating London's commercial pre-eminence
Painting the Thames
Blackwall and the lower Thames
The Cleveley family
The working river in art
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Introduction

The Royal George at Deptford showing the launch of the Cambridge.
View full size imageThe Royal George at Deptford, showing the launch of the Cambridge. © NMM

During the 18th century, the visual image of the Thames in paintings and prints became increasingly complex.  The work of artists reflected the great changes in London as the city grew into a major port and the centre of a commercial empire. 

The Cleveley family, for example, were artists brought up and employed in the dockyards at Deptford.  Their paintings celebrated the shipbuilding and naval power that were key elements in the maritime success of London's trading community. 

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Glossary
Port

Find out more
Fact fileJohn Cleveley
A marine painter
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GalleriesDeptford Royal Dockyard collection
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StoriesDeptford and Woolwich: London's Royal Dockyards
The rise and decline of Henry VIII's Dockyards
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National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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