A Greenwich Pensioner in the Character of Commodore Trunnion

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A Greenwich Pensioner in the Character of Commodore Trunnion 1823
  • Scottish Art
This fine drawing shows one of the resident 'pensioners' dressed in the distinctive uniform of the Royal Hospital at Chelsea, London. The hospital was founded by Charles II in 1682 for impoverished British servicemen. Wilkie was fascinated by this retired seaman whose crusty looks reminded him of the character of Commodore Trunnion from 'The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle' (1751) by the Scots-born novelist Tobias Smollet. The former seaman's keen eyes suggest his alert mind. Wilkie rarely exhibited his accomplished drawings for most were preparatory studies for paintings, but he included this one at the Royal Academy exhibition in 1824.

Glossary Open

Royal Academy

An independent institution founded in 1768 with Sir Joshua Reynolds as its first president. It is governed by the Royal Academicians - leading painters, sculptors, printmakers and architects, which number no more than 80 at one time. It organises exhibitions at its London galleries, including an annual Summer Exhibition.

Royal Academy


  • Acc. No. D 3732
  • Medium Pencil, black chalk and watercolour on paper
  • Size 36.40 x 25.10 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1929