John Russell Chancellor (British, 1925-1984) Nearing journey's end in London's crowded river

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Lot 83
John Russell Chancellor
(British, 1925-1984)
Nearing journey's end in London's crowded river

Sold for £ 13,200 (US$ 16,531) inc. premium
John Russell Chancellor (British, 1925-1984)
Nearing journey's end in London's crowded river
signed 'John Chancellor' (lower left)
watercolour heightened with white
36.8 x 56.5cm (14 1/2 x 22 1/4in).

Footnotes

  • LITERATURE :
    John Chancellor, The Maritime Paintings of John Chancellor, David & Charles, Newton Abbot, 1st ed., 1984, pp. 62-65, illustrated.

    Once again, it is best left to John Chancellor to describe this scene in his own words:

    “…My painting of her sailing up the London river illustrates the volume of traffic, both sail and steam, working up on the flood. Right up to the 1960s one would often see dumb lighters manned by a single lighterman armed with a great sweep, making passage up- or down-river carried only by the tide. The lighter in the right foreground, having drifted up-river on the flood from the left, is now being coaxed in with the help of the breeze to moor alongside the lighter in the near foreground. The one being rowed is an old sailing ballast barge relegated to the role of lighter. The steam tug with her string of lighters in the centre foreground is edging in to drop them off somewhere just downstream of the sailing barge at the wharf. That sailing barge is the Viper, built in 1898 and one of Goldsmith’s fleet. Viper was a typical example of one of their coasting bulk carriers, with her great 22 foot beam, she loaded 200 tons and at the time of the painting was engaged in the beer trade to Germany. When I bought her in 1948 she had finished coasting but was making regular trips from Southend to London with coal dust. At that time there were more than eighty barges still working under sail alone…..”

    Around 1900, when London’s horse population was probably at its peak, it has been estimated that there were well over 2,000 barges operating in the hay trade alone and it is hard, if not impossible, for modern Londoners to imagine the Thames in its commercial heyday.
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