Canary Wharf and Bust of Francesco di Tomasso Sassetti of the Medici Bank
The river Thames at Deptford, formerly the site of King Henry VIII’s Royal Dockyard, has been an exhilarating personal destination for walks during the past year of pandemic. The colours and watery reflections of Canary Wharf’s majestic steel and glass towers vary according to the weather and the river’s tidal flow. Francesco di Tomasso Sassetti was a talented Italian banker, who became the director general of the Medici Bank in Florence. He died in 1490, the year before Henry VIII was born in The Palace of Placentia, at Greenwich downstream from Deptford. Sassetti was born on 9th April 1421, almost exactly 600 years before this post on the 28th April 2021. During his long life, he witnessed the demise of the London branch of the Medici bank during the epic Wars of the Roses which preceded the Tudor Dynasty. His intense look of concentration, which combines shrewdness with dependability, would not seem out of place within the glittering banking powerhouses of Canary Wharf today. Instead, he can be found in the V&A’s fabulous Cast Courts among other Victorian reproductions of Italian Renaissance Sculptures. The portrait bust was cast in plaster c.1890, from the original marble portrait bust in the Bargello Museum, Florence.