Tag Archives: king henry VIII

River Thames boat trip from Westminster to Hampton Court Palace with Tony

Portrait of Tony – oil on canvas 2010


Every few months, Tony and I get together to go to a gallery or the theatre – yesterday we took a boat ride from Westminster to Hampton Court Palace.      For years, I have been telling my visitors how fantastic this is….and so I thought it would be a good idea to actually experience it.

Weather wise a little disappointing in that we only saw blue skies for about two hours before boarding the boat….Here’s evidence of that.

From the Westminster Pier  (which is right next to Westminster Bridge and Westminster Palace – (the meeting place of the House of Commons and House of Lords) looking across at the London Eye and South Bank.


We set off for the four hour trip at precisely 12 noon…..as shown by one of London’s most famous landmarks, Big Ben.

Taken from the  boat. 


Meandering through the heart of London the boat follows the route that King Henry VIII travelled 500 years ago in the Royal Barge on his way to his favourite Palace at Hampton Court.

I was born in London nearly seventy years ago, and so have seen many changes to the city and skyline, especially during the  past twenty years.    There are far too many points of interest to show in this blog, but as an example here is the new MI5 Building at the south end of Vauxhall Bridge.


Another of London’s famous landmarks….the old Battersea Power Station, now  being converted into multi million pound flats, shopping centre and restaurants.      Apparently each chimney is being renovated/replaced at a cost of £10 million pounds!       All of this by a company out of Malaysia.


Parts of London, such as Wandsworth, where my Grandmother had a home on Wandsworth Common, are unrecognisable from the river….with again multi million pound flats flanking the shore line.

However, as we leave the hustle and bustle of inner London we begin to meander through the attractive suburbs of this huge city.    Passing through Chiswick and Putney where we saw many boathouses, scullers and rowing crews.

I am very familiar with this boathouse (Ranelagh) on the river bank at Putney because it’s where I have given many painting workshops for the Fulham/Hammersmith Arts Society – SOFAP



As we moved out through Fulham, Barnes and the Teddington and Richmond Lochs, we saw more and more wildlife.     Today, the River Thames is alive and well…with over 100 breeds of fish.   

I can remember as a child after World War 2, the River was heavily polluted and all the buildings in London were  black from the burning of coal.     When I was about ten years old in 1956 – coal was banned and the buildings were sand blasted to reveal the golden colour stone that we see today…..and thankfully the River was cleaned up.


Richmond Lock with Tony in the foreground. 


As we leave Richmond, and move past the little island of Thames Ditton we see our first glimpse of Hampton Court Palace with its famous brick chimneys, first built in 1514. 


The front of Hampton Court Palace.


Throughout the four hours,  the crew gave an informative and at times very humorous commentary.    I can’t recommend enough for visitors to London and for people who live here.

Tony and I had coffee and cake in the Hampton Court coffee shop, and then I took the bus home (only five minutes for me) and Tony the train from Hampton Court Train Station to Putney.

I can recommend now with real conviction….and would definitely do this again.    Thames River Boats runs this trip from April through October.    Timetables, prices (very affordable)  on the internet.

Enjoy the day.,

A Bientôt

The beauty of spring….

We are experiencing beautiful warm, spring weather and with it comes Mother Nature’s bounty….always a magnificent surprise.

I took the following photographs yesterday on the way to my Mother’s nursing home….

Magnolia blossoms….some of my favourites – Brief but glorious.


I am fortunate to live in a very leafy part of greater London  – with beautiful parks and the Thames River close by.



This is part of the garden that surrounds the Nursing Home where my Mother now lives.  It backs onto Busy Park, which once was the hunting grounds of King Henry VIII.     The deer found today in Busy Park, are direct descendants of the original deer put there by King Henry – for his pleasure:)


I came back via Hampton Church and the River….The daffodils have been blooming for quite some time and so shortly will go to sleep until next year.


This blossom in the churchyard, shows the river beyond.

The lighting at this time of year is particularly beautiful.    Everything is so fresh and alive.


I finish with a magical hummingbird drinking the sweet nectar of life from a magnolia blossom.


A Bientôt

Meeting Stephanie at Hampton Court Palace.

I am fortunate enough to live about ten minutes away from Hampton Court Palace, and so when I have visitors, it’s a great place to visit.

This was the case yesterday, when I met up with Stephanie, an American friend I haven’t seen for 24 years!     As is so often the case it was as if no time had past at all…..

Stephanie with two of the Hampton Court Palace guides.    


It was a glorious day….with evidence of spring everywhere.   Crocus, daffodils and much more blooming all over the place – no wonder everyone is smiling:)

The gardens are open every day of the year and they are a wonderful place to walk in or indeed sit with a book during the early spring and summer days.

This shows a small part of the Palace behind Stephanie, with the unique Tudor chimney stacks.   The long shadows talk of a late early spring afternoon.


Behind the Palace are these sculpted trees and much more….Henry VIII was apparently very impressed with The Palace of Versailles and wanted the gardens at Hampton Court to have a similar feel…..and I think this was achieved.


I will write a separate post one of these days with more of the history surrounding the Palace and the magnificent tapestries that hang in the Great Hall.     

This is a photograph I took of a detail from one of the tapestries. 


A Bientôt

Tapestries at Hampton Court Palace

For the past week, I have had a close friend visiting from Paris and so we did some local sight seeing.    Hampton Court Palace, one of the homes of King Henry VIII, is very close to where I live.

In this post, I will show some details from the ten tapestries in the Great Hall, where King Henry VIII held sumptuous dinners, filled with music, dancing and jest.

The Great Hall, Hampton Court Palace where the tapestries telling the story of Abraham, are housed. 

ImageI am interested in the tapestries as beautiful works of art, and also as possible information for the series of paintings I have been working on for nearly 30 years on the subject of ‘interconnectedness’.

The tapestries were commissioned by King Henry VIII to celebrate the birth of his son, Edward, to his third wife, Jane Seymour in 1537.  Tapestries were the most highly valued art form of the 16th century.   Henry VIII had collected more than 2000 by his death.    They were in fact a display of great wealth.

One of my favourite details from one of the ten tapestries 

ImageNote the movement in the horse.

ImageImageIt is often assumed that tapestries are made by women, but in fact during the 16th century this was the work of highly skilled men who had been trained from a very young age. 

The work began with a small painting known as the ‘Petit Patron’ – This is enlarged by the designer into a full scale cartoon.


The value of a tapestry was determined by the artistic quality of the cartoon, skill of the weavers and the density of weave. 

The tapestries in the Great Hall, are interwoven with sliver and gold thread….


I am always aware of the interconnection when viewing work from previous centuries…..

As we walked around the Palace we bumped into one of the courtiers.    Claudia and courtier.


Claudia returned home yesterday after what was a very special week together.


A Bientôt


Bushy Park London

I am very fortunate to live in a lovely part of London…I might add in a modest, one bedroom flat, however the area is fabulous allowing for the best of all worlds.   

This photograph (not mine) was taken in Bushy Park this past week….



I mentioned in yesterday’s post that Hampton Court Palace was just five minutes from where I live.   Bushy Park, sits immediately north of the Palace andy in the 16th century it was King Henry VIII’s deer hunting ground.    

The roaming herds of Red and Fallow deer that populate the park today are ancestors of the deer that Henry hunted.



Bushy Park is the second largest of London’s eight Royal Parks, and I for one am so grateful for these beautiful places that are protected by the Crown.     

Living in London, or visiting the Capital can sometimes be overwhelming, and so to enjoy and visit these Parks is indeed a respite.



Covering 1,099 acres, Bushy Park can be accessed from Kingston, Teddington and Hampton….On the Hampton side, there is a heated swim pool that is open 12 months of the year, and the park has lakes, a river water gardens, meadows and so much more. 



For visitors to London, you can take the train from London Waterloo to Kingston, Teddington or Hampton.   There are also plenty of buses from Kingston to Hampton Court Palace, and it’s all good walking country. 

I wish everyone a beautiful weekend.     

A Bientôt