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Reginald Augustus Wymer
Grenadier Guards at Hyde Park Corner, London

The Painting
A watercolour measuring 4¼” x 6¼”. Signed G. Wymer.

About the Artist
Reginald Augustus Wymer (1849-1935) was a military painter. He was commissioned in the 34th Foot Regiment in 1867; transferred to the 91st Highlanders in 1870; made a Captain in the 2nd (Militia) Battalion of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders; and retired as a Major in 1905. His works were collected by Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) and Queen Mary, who visited Fortnum and Mason’s on 28 May 1932 ‘to see charming pictures by Major Wymer’.

The Subject
Grenadier Guards marching by St George’s Hospital, Hyde Park Corner, London. The regiment has been identified according to their uniforms by the Guards Museum at Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, London.

The former St George’s Hospital on the west side of Hyde Park Corner, now the Lanesborough Hotel, is a fine stuccoed Neo-Greek building by William Wilkins, built in 1827-33. The façade has a giant central portico of four square pillars and projecting wings. The top storey and pilaster surrounds to the second-floor windows were added in 1859 by Arthur Mee. The hospital moved to Tooting in 1980, and the building was converted to a hotel in 1988-91.

The buildings seen on the left of St George’s Hospital in the painting are on Grosvenor Place, corner of Grosvenor Crescent. Grosvenor Place was widened and largely rebuilt in the 1860s, when over 200 house leases expired together. The chief architect was Thomas Cundy III, and the style chosen for the mansions was a version of 17th century French Renaissance. It was typified by the pyramidal pavilion roofs seen in the painting. The first block is no longer in existence: it was replaced by stone-faced office buildings in the 1960s.

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