Study for Boulter’s Lock, Sunday Afternoon

Study for Boulter’s Lock, Sunday Afternoon, from 1882
John Gregory (1850-1909)
Oil on board
BORGM 00924
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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Study for Boulter’s Lock, Sunday Afternoon

In Victorian times, much like now, the promise of a warm Bank Holiday weekend was sufficient to lure people to the rivers and to the seaside en masse. This complex work by Edward Gregory depicts such a weekend at Boulter’s Lock on the River Thames, to the west of London near Maidenhead.

This painting is a study for the finished painting, which is on display at the Lady Lever Gallery, near Liverpool. Gregory began the work in 1882 but it was not finished and exhibited until 1897. He produced over seventy studies for the painting, including this one, as he struggled with the composition and details of a complex scene. Boating on the Thames was a very popular late Victorian and Edwardian pastime. On just one Sunday in 1888 around 900 boats passed through Boulter’s Lock. His painting of Boulter’s Lock ensured his election as a Royal Academician in 1898.

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