The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

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5 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro  •  Link


As Charles and James used to race their yachts against each other, it could be of interest to note that Mortlake is the finish of the famous Oxford and Cambridge University boat race.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Mortlake ... where Dr John Dee lived, and where the famous Mortlake tapestries were made for Charles I. Of course, Cromwell shut down the factory, and Charles II promised to start their manufacture again, but never got around to it.

For a fascinating history of the area, written in 1792, see…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Since Charles II never reopened the Mortlake tapestry factory, and we don't have a page for tapestries, I'm at a loss to know where to post these pictures and information about the Solebay tapestry.

This entire post is a SPOILER:

The largest tapestry on display at the Royal Museums Greenwich illustrates the May 1672 battle off the coast of Southwold Bay, Suffolk. It is taken from a series of sketches made by a Dutch artist, Willem Van de Velde the Elder, who took up a position in a small boat in order to bear witness to the carnage.

Charles II had commissioned Van de Velde to do this, as he and James saw this battle as their own "Armada". I suspect there would have been no tapestries had they lost the Battle of Solebay.

Surrounding him were hundreds of warships. A Dutch fleet had sailed to engage a combined force of English and French ships, and Van de Velde was there to document the action.

The engagement became known as the Battle of Solebay. While both sides claimed victory, the outcome remained inconclusive.

The drawings Van de Velde made have shape how the battle was perceived, and eventually inspire a series of giant tapestries depicting the course of the conflict.

One of these tapestries is now in the collections of Royal Museums Greenwich.
Entitled "The Burning of the Royal James at the Battle of Solebay, 28 May 1672," it depicts the climax of the battle: the destruction of the English flagship Royal James and the death of Vice-Admiral Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich.

Much like the outcome of the battle, the tapestry’s history is ambiguous.

For starters, where were they made? One part of the blog suggests: "The weaving of the Solebay tapestries is now thought to have taken place either at Clerkenwell or later at Hatton Garden in the workshops of Francis Poyntz.

"A skilled weaver, Poyntz was a Yeoman Arrarsworker in the Great Wardrobe, a position that involved producing new royal tapestry commissions as well as maintaining the existing tapestries in royal residences and collections.

"Francis Poyntz relied on skilled émigré weavers, many of whom were Catholic and had left the Dutch Commonwealth because of religious and economic turmoil."

For pictures and more details of its history, poke around here:…

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