Tim Koch is a little tired after a very good lunch at Fishmongers’ Hall following the Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race yesterday. In lieu of an immediate race report, here is something that he prepared earlier.
On 15 July 2015, Sotheby’s Auction House in London sold an oil painting titled The Finish of the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race at Mortlake by James Baylis Allan (1803-1896). They had wisely contacted Chris Dodd at the River and Rowing Museum for assistance with the catalogue notes and I presume it was Chris who suggested that the picture probably depicts the race of 1867, which Oxford won by half a length. The painting is a somewhat romanticised view of the day but is none the worse for that as it captures well the spirt of the occasion – which I imagine is much the same today as it was then. The majority of spectators who go down to the riverbank to see the race in person have always done so simply for ‘a grand day out’ as they have no connection with either rowing or to Oxford or Cambridge. Strangely though, it has always been such people who have been among some of the most passionate supporters of one crew or another and of Boat Race Day in general.
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