16 1/4” x 28 1/4” - Lithographed print of a Thames sailing barge race. The Thames sailing barges were a commercial boat used on the Thames River during the nineteenth century. They were flat-bottomed and so could float in very shallow water; it was said that they could sail wherever a duck could swim.
Their maneuverability and shallow draft made them perfect to work the Thomas and its estuary, though they were used elsewhere around England. Beginning in 1863, a barge owner, Henry Dodd, began an annual race for the barges, for fun, pride, to hone the sailing skills of the sailors, and to encourage improvements in design.
Dodd was a plough boy who made a fortune disposing London’s waste using the barges; upon his death in 1881 he left £5000 for future match prizes, ensuring the continuation of the races.
The matches have been run intermittently since, and they are now considered the world’s second oldest sailing race, after the America’s Cup. This lovely print shows the fifth annual race, in July 1867. It was drawn, lithographed and published by Josiah Taylor, a well-known marine artist of the period.
The Philadelphia Print Shop; Marine Department