“THE OLD HORSE GUARDS FROM ST JAMES’S PARK”
BY GIOVANNI ANTONIO CANAL CANALETTO

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Since it was purchased by The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation in 1992, The Canaletto has been on exhibition at various museums in the UK.

Following six years on permanent exhibition at Tate Britain, The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation was delighted to loan the Canaletto to “Canaletto: Celebrating Britain”.  The exhibition opened at Compton Verney in March 2015, toured to the Holburne Museum, Bath and was at its final venue, the Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal, until February 2016.  The painting was shown for the first time alongside a largely unknown Canaletto view of the new Horse Guards building in Whitehall, from a private collection. Click here to read the full press release.

Among the two dozen or so views of London that Canaletto produced, this is one of the largest and most spectacular. It commemorates the last remnant of Stuart Whitehall before its demolition in 1750, to be replaced by the present New Horse Guards (which Canaletto also painted).

The decayed brick buildings are flanked by the proud new structures of the Georgian age: the Admiralty on the left, with the spire of St Martin’s behind, and, on the right, a glimpse of the York Buildings water tower and William Kent’s Treasury, with the grand residences of Downing Street in the foreground. Peopled with innumerable precisely characterised figures, both rich and poor, with the Guards drilling on the parade ground, servants going about their business, men relieving themselves against any available wall and children playing by the Canal, St James presents a delightfully well-observed slice of daily life in London.