This view of Greenwich, taken from the East, is dominated by Greenwich Hospital and The Queen's House which are at the centre of the composition. On the far left is the Royal Observatory, perched on One Tree Hill, built by Sir Christopher Wren for John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal, between 1675 and 1676. In the distance, on the opposite side of the Thames, lies the City of London with the elegant spires of its post Great Fire churches, dominated by St. Paul's Cathedral.
Greenwich Palace and park had become Crown property at the Reformation and became the favourite residence of the Tudor Monarchs. In 1605 King James I settled the park and Palace on his wife, Anne of Denmark, for whom Inigo Jones built the Queen's House which was completed in 1635. Unlike most Crown lands, Greenwich was not sold after the Civil War, but was retained to become the residence of the 'Protector', and following the Restoration King Charles II planned the construction of an impressive New Palace on the site as well as improvements to the Park; only one wing of the New Palace was completed before funds ran out in 1669. After the 'Glorious Revolution' Queen Mary decided that the project on which King Charles II had embarked should be completed to provide the Royal Naval Hospital for disabled seamen. The buildings were designed by Wren, with Hawksmoor as his assistant, and completed by Vanburgh. In this picture King William's Block of the Hospital, built between 1698 and 1723, appears to be near completion, but there is no sign of the dome over the Chapel which was completed sometime after 1716.