The View from Richmond Hill

I grew up with this view from Richmond Hill on my doorstep. As a student I pulled pints at the Roebuck pub where the customers take their drinks out on to the terrace in summer and enjoy this view.

View from Richmond hill
Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones and Who guitarist Pete Townsend both bought houses with this view. Children take their first bike ride along the terrace, while their parents admire the view, or they run down the steep path, through the meadow to feed the ducks by the River Thames at the bottom.

Now I realise that this view from Richmond Hill has inspired painters and writers for centuries. It was painted by the great 18th and 19th century English artists, Constable, Turner, Reynolds and Gainsborough who lived near Richmond.

Painting of the view from Richmond Hill
Henry Purcell wrote a song about it and in 1733 William Byrd named Richmond, Virginia because the view of the James River reminded him of this view from Richmond Hill. This is not just any old view – it’s a historic view!

At the time, there must have been many such beautiful views nearby, but now the sprawl of London has nibbled at its edges, threatening it with an estate agent’s dream of residential development. Were it not for the protection of an Act of Parliament in 1902, the view might no longer exist.

A hundred years later in 2002 an art exhibition was held to celebrate this view and a book published, from which I can share these pictures. Now we can hope that the view will be preserved for many more generations to enjoy.

Let poets rave of Arno’s stream,
And painters of the winding Rhine
I will not ask a lovlier dream,
A sweeter scene, fair Thames, than thine;
As neath a summer’s sun decline,
Thou wanderst at thine own sweet will,
Reflecting from thy face divine
The flower-wreathed brow of Richmond Hill.

Do you have a view near you that inspires you? And will it still be there in another hundred years?

P.S. This post is for my friend Philippa, who lives in Richmond and found it difficult to understand why anyone would want to sit in front of a computer, writing a blog, when they could be out admiring the view.

Related posts
Down by the river in Richmond
Friday photo – A view from Richmond Hill

From top left to bottom right the pictures are;
Barbara Rich on Flickr,
Evening, Richmond Hill by Jane Corsellis
First snow, Richmond Hill by Jane Corsellis
Richmond Hill on the Prince Regent’s birthday by Turner
The Thames from Richmond Hill by Jeremy Barlow
Richmond Hill by Edward King
Autumn by J P Trevor
From Richmond Hill by Ruth Stage
Cover of The View book by Carl Laubin
Poem by Alairic Alexander Watts, 1797-1864

Visit Richmond Website

Other London articles to enjoy

Friday photo – the view from Richmond Hill
Down by the river in Richmond
River trip to Greenwich in London – Video



heatheronhertravels' Richmond photoset heatheronhertravels’ Richmond photoset


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    Art Smith
    September 3, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Nice thread, like the work and the idea.

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    January 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    It’s a great view / area, the painting you feature by JP Trevor is going up for sale at Devon and Cornwall Auction Rooms on the 4th Feb 2012 if anyone would like to take the view home.

  • Reply
    January 30, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    @ Darren Thanks for letting me know – I have a great view of Richmond hill in my hall much like this one – my parents still live there so I get back fairly often too

  • Reply
    August 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm


    Do you still have the name of this book?

    • Reply
      September 3, 2012 at 9:32 pm

      @RJ The Book is The View – An Exhibition about Richmond Hill. April-May 2003 Waterstones Piccadilly & May-July Orleans House Gallery. My Parents bought it at an exhibition of the paintings at Oleans House Gallery some time ago. You may find a second hand copy somewhere.

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