A Swim-Headed Barge

A coastal scene showing a swim-headed Thames barge in port-bow view. Thames barges, used in that river and trading to estuaries and other ports on the adjoining east coast, had a flat bottom for working in shallow water, putting ashore and carrying a substantial cargo. The sloping 'swim-head' bow of this type made them fairly dry seagoing vessels in choppy water. This one is gaff-rigged with a gaff topsail, the port leeboard is visible and the identifying number '80' is painted on the mainsail. Several figures are visible on the deck. The white cliffs of the English coast are visible on the left and other shipping is at anchor in the distance. What appear to be the ribs of a shipwreck on a shoal are on the left. In the foreground on the right three figures wearing red caps are shown in a small boat.

The artist was born and worked mainly in London and produced dramatic coastal scenes. He exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy between 1853 and 1888. The painting is signed and dated 'James Webb 1861'.

Object Details

ID: BHC1272
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Webb, James
Date made: 1861
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Presented by L. M. Angus-Butterworth through The Art Fund
Measurements: Painting: 260 x 420 mm; Frame: 410 x 575 x 75 mm

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