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This watercolour was prepared as the basis of a print to be included in a series called The Rivers of England (1822–26). This was one of many publications that helped establish a new vision of the national scenery, that now encompassed modern industry and urbanisation.

The emphasis in this image is on a sense of dynamism in the landscape, with the plunging angles leading down to the furious activity in the shipyards. But the image also allows for the details of mundane human activity in the figure of the milkman on his rounds at the right.

September 2004