The Head of the River
Topic: Execution date

The presence of the Oxford Union Boating Club boathouse in the background dates the painting to later than 1881, and not later than 1925.

William O'Chee, Entry reviewed by Art UK

2 attachments


Martin Hopkinson,

The barge can be seen sideon in 'The Brasenose barge' , Brazen Notes, 8 , 2008. This is the second of the three barges which the college has had. The BNCBC minutes book shoud provide the dates between which it was in use.
The artrist's second name is Jermyn not Jemyn

Martin Hopkinson,

it seems that he is recorded most often as Jamyn

Nicholas Barfield,

The well dressed ladies on the towpath in background are wearing walking dresses with relatively small bustles, which helps with dating. Bustles reached their apogee in the mid-1880s and started to diminish in size thereafter, as women began to appreciate the freedom of less padding and fashions adopted a more naturally tailored look. So the relatively modest bustles on the dresses of the ladies in the painting would point to late 1880s-1890s rather than an earlier date.
The chap in the double-breasted blazer, wing collar and matching pink tie and cap would also be fashionably dressed by the standards of the early-to-mid 1890s.

Kieran Owens,

On page 246 of 'The Year's Art' of 1893, reference is made to Brasenose and "College Barge" by "H. J. Brooks". Although this might be in regards to a print, anyone with access to this volume might be kind enough to dig out the exact entry.

Kieran, thank you for your posts. I have The Year's Art 1893. The full details are as follows:

Title: Oxford. Brasenose College Barge. Painted by H. J. Brooks. A photogravure by Hanfstangl, size 27.5 x 18.0 inches. Publisher Dickinson & Foster. The states are listed as Rem. A.P. ed 25, price 8gns; A.P. ed 100, price 6gns; B. L. ed 50, price 4 gns; L.P. ed 25, price 3gns; and Prints, not editioned, price 2 gns.

Kieran Owens,

The photogravure was most likely executed by the Franz Hanfstaengl (sic) Fine Art Publishing company, which had an office in London from as early 1885 (at 5, Rathbone Place) and at least until 1915 (at 16, Pall Mall East). Named after the famous German photographer (1804 -1877), the company was run by his son Edgar Hanfstaengl (1842 - 1910), who, in 1868, took over the photographic workshop and expanded the business into the Franz Hanfstaengl Art Publishing House. The company was subsequently managed by his grandson Edgar (1883 – 1958):

I cannot find find any image of this print via a Google search.

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