Thomas Stothard

A Scene on the Medway

c.1780–1

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Thomas Stothard 1755–1834
Medium
Etching on paper
Dimensions
Image: 169 x 214 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1996
Reference
T07042

Display caption

Blake was friendly with Thomas Stothard when he was a student at the Royal Academy. According to Stothard’s biographer, in about late 1780 Blake, Stothard and another friend went on a sketching trip on the river Medway. This led to Blake’s first experience of one effect of war: all three were arrested as spies for the French.

This etching shows the improvised camp that was made while they were detained. A successful appeal to Royal Academicians for character references ensured their release.

Gallery label, July 2008

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