Queen’s House Greenwich

Queen’s House Greenwich

This portrait of Captain James Cook was painted in 1776 by Nathanial Dance and hangs in the newly refurbished Queen’s House at Greenwich London. Queen’s House Greenwich

Queen's House Greenwich
Captain James Cook

A new world was being discovered by Europeans whilst across the pond the old colonies were in revolt. A momentous year.

Looking at such a portrait of somebody so eminent in history, what emotions do you feel? Excitement at an age of exploration? Sadness at an age for the indigenous peoples passing away and a future of harshness and domination by outsiders? What of Cook himself? Do you feel admiration at his achievements and self-progression from humble beginnings or an opportunist?

Whatever your views, it is good to look at historical portraits, perhaps particularly those of aristocrats and be challenged, to ask questions of yourself and examine your values and maybe even your prejudices and how they may compare with others.

A fine portrait and an interesting one to look deeper within ourselves to explore and maybe make our own discoveries.

Queen’s House Greenwich


Art-Tales is a magazine blog site following the journeys and reflections through the art world of artist, sketcher, art historian and critic Al Beckett.

Merely to amuse, inform and entertain, Art-Tales is aimed at people who simply wish to dip a toe into the art world, share an insight, smile at a joke and maybe even be informed a little.

Al regularly visits the major galleries in the UK and whenever possible, mainland Europe and the USA. He keeps up to date by subscribing to many periodicals, viewing documentaries and the news in general.

Al paints and sculpts himself and frequently sketches in-situ. He has written a book ‘The Primacy of Your Eye’ designed to give people some insights to enhance their experiences in galleries. Fully illustrated with 400 sketches and drawings of major art works and their artists, the book takes the reader on a journey through topics to perhaps consider to enrich the viewing experience.

To many, the art world is daunting, to others it holds little interest. A gentle submersion at a depth to suit the individual can produce rich and rewarding results.

That’s the purpose of Art-Tales.