A scene showing a rowing race between the cadets of HMS 'Worcester' and HMS 'Conway' on the Thames. This annual boat race started in 1890 and took place between the cadets of the training ships HMS 'Conway', moored on the Mersey, and HMS 'Worcester', moored on the Thames. The race was held alternately on the Thames and the Mersey. The boys competed in six-oared whalers, and competition was fierce. Between 1898 and 1939, the shield was won by the 'Worcester' 14 times and the 'Conway' five times, with a dead heat in 1905. The 'Worcester' was a training ship between 1877 and 1939. She was originally called the 'Royal Sovereign' in 1833, then her name changed to 'Royal Frederick' and then to the 'Frederick William'. By the time she was launched in 1860 warship technology had moved on. As the 'Frederick William' she was not thought to be fit for service in battle. The Admiralty loaned her to the Board of the Thames Nautical College who were seeking a replacement for their training vessel. This painting shows the race on the Thames, with one of the two crews forging ahead in the foreground of the painting. The crew of the other ship are still some way behind as they also try to complete the course. To the left a group of small boats with officials and spectators looking on. On the right behind the second rowing boat is a tender with billowing smoke. There is another version of this painting at Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool, showing the race held on the Mersey.
Charles William Wyllie
Look for more Charles William Wyllie prints.