Greaves was the son of a Thames boatman and a self-taught painter. His painting shows a dense crowd assembled on Hammersmith suspension bridge to watch the annual university boat race. In 1870 around 12,000 people gathered there for the event giving rise to fears that the bridge was not strong enough to support the weight of heavy traffic. The current bridge, designed by the civil engineer Joseph Bazalgette, opened in 1887. This rests on the original piers depicted in the painting.
Gallery label, November 2016
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