Printing the Thames in the 19th century
|Into the 20th century|
John Everett (1876-1949)
The artist John Everett occupies a unique position in the history of marine painting. He trained at the Slade School of Fine Art with Augustus John and William Orpen.
Encouraged to produce landscapes outdoors, Everett continually experimented with sunlit, brightly coloured stippled brushwork and natural daylight tones and colours combined with spontaneity and informality. This training had a strong influence on Everett’s subsequent seascapes.
After studying briefly at the Académie Julian in Paris, Everett’s life took an unconventional path when he embarked on the first of his 16 sea voyages, painting hundreds of seascapes on each journey.
In the spring of 1918 he was commissioned by the Ministry of Information to produce some drawings and paintings of wartime London docks and the Thames. These were subsequently exhibited in America. In 1923 he went to Paris where he learnt print-making techniques, including etching and aquatints. He produced hundreds of prints based on his oil painting sketches.
This aquatint shows the view from London Bridge looking down river. Tower Bridge can be seen in the distance. The print evokes the work of W.L. Wyllie in its depiction of bridges and barges on the Thames.
|The Pool, London, January 1914. © NMM|
This shows the Pool of London, from a warehouse near the south end of the Tower Bridge, looking towards warehouses and wharves on the north bank.
|Repairing a barge on the foreshore at Bermondsey. © NMM|
Here is a view of the south bank of the Thames at Bermondsey, where barges lie on the muddy shore under warehouses.
In the foreground, four men are repairing a barge, while another stands on the deck, working a pump. The buildings are more detailed and ordered than Whistler’s.
|Moss's Wharf, Old Greenwich, 1923. © NMM|
This work depicts the ramshackle waterfront buildings of R. Moss & Sons, Crane Wharf, 11-13 Crane Street, East Greenwich, immediately east of the Yacht public house, formerly the Yacht Hotel, with the bow of what may be a Dutch sailing barge to the right.
'MOSS'S WHARF' appears on the riverfront wall of the central house, which has two upper floors of disintegrating Regency pattern iron railings. A sign with lettering is partly visible below. On the left flank wall are the words 'OLD ROPE & IRON BOUGHT FOR EXPORT'.
A man, a woman and a girl are visible on the ground floor, wharf level, of the building with a pile of coiled 'junk' rope or hawser. Ladders descend from there to behind a lighter on the river, stretching across the full width of the image.
By the 20th century, artists creating images of the Thames were as concerned with aesthetic considerations as they were with topographical representations.
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