​Valentine Green, after Lemuel Francis Abbott, To The Society of Goffers at Blackheath, ca. 1790, Yale Center for British Art.


The first picture known to include Severndroog was also one of the earliest portraits of golfers. Well known amongst fans of the sport, not least for the absurd size of the players and their rather grim expressions, the portrait painter Lemuel Francis Abbott’s To the Society of Goffers at Blackheath (1790) was dedicated to members of England’s oldest golfing institution, which would later become the Royal Blackheath Golf Club. This engraved print of Abbott’s lost painting (which was possibly destroyed in a fire at the club in the late eighteenth century) pictures William Innes, a former club captain, with his caddy, who wears the uniform of a pensioner of the nearby Greenwich Royal Naval Hospital. Abbott, who is best known for his portrait of Horatio Nelson, which now hangs in 10 Downing Street, included Severndroog (one of only two landmarks to appear in his painting) on the left hand side of the picture, where it stands prominently on Shooter’s Hill, just beneath the handle of Innes’s club. The white building pictured beneath it is Blackheath’s Morden College, which the philanthropist Sir John Morden built as a home for merchants in financial hardship in 1695, but which now provides care for older people.


Detail of Valentine Green, after Lemuel Francis Abbott, To The Society of Goffers at Blackheath, ca. 1790, Yale Center for British Art.


Lemuel Francis Abbott, To the Society of Goffers at Blackheath ​(1790)