Nevinson became renowned for his atmospheric depictions of the urban cityscape during the 1920s and 1930s and in particular his dramatic views of London have come to immortalize the architecture and industrial activity in the city from that period. In works such as Battersea, Twilight (sold in these rooms, March 2006, lot 33), the Thames is a prominent focus with barges ploughing their way up and down highlighting the river's industrial importance. The focus on the Thames in the present work provides an apt contrast and emphasizes a more leisurely and informal pace of life. In the same way that the Thames barges are powerful symbols of the Empire's trade and commerce so are the boats an enduring and romantic symbol of a very English pastime exemplified by annual events such as the Henley regatta.
The bold colours of the still life in the foreground also demonstrate the particular influence of Matisse. Nevinson had studied in Paris after his years at the Slade (1908 - 1912) and attended the Académie Julian then Matisse's 'Circle Russe'. The compositional arrangement of the present work is highly reminiscent of Matisse's own window compositions such as Open Window, Collioure (1905, Coll. National Gallery of Art, Washington).
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