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Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Thames at Greenwich, c.1750


The Thames at Greenwich, artist unknown, c.1750, Royal Collection Trust.

Details in this piece are difficult to make out, so I have brightened the details below to make it easier to analyze. Bear in mind this is not wholly how the original appears.


The master of this tiny sloop stands by the tiller (but neglects it). He wears a round hat with a short brim, bob style hair, and a frock coat. Forward of the master stands a man in his white shirt with broad legged petticoat trousers/slops who also wears a round hat. At the mast are two jacks working at some canvas. Both wear dark petticoat trousers/slops, and short jackets of blue and red. Their headwear is too difficult to make out. Near the bow reclines a man in a brown jacket, but there is too little to say anything more about him,


Manning a private barge, three oarsmen in brilliantly red jockey caps  and shirtsleeves pull a pair of gentlemen across the Thames. At the tiller is a coxswain in a black barge cap and brown jacket.


Even with the lightening, the tars on this vessel are unrecognizable. One of the frustrations of working within the narrow focus I have set for myself are paintings like this one. There is a good deal of information to be found in them, but it has been obscured by the centuries.

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