Henry Taunt and lady, perhaps his wife, on his houseboat (1886). Reproduced with permission of Oxfordshire County Council
(L-R) Taunt’s book and illustrated map of the Thames photographed by Graham Diprose and Jeff Robins; Taunt at the site of today’s Rowing & River Museum at Henley, with permission of Oxfordshire County Council
(L-R) Old Putney Bridge (1875) , with permission of English Heritage; ‘The Anglers Hotel’, Teddington (1883), with permission of Oxfordshire County Council; Temple Island, reproduced by permission of English Heritage
View of Mortlake (1860-1887), with permission of English Heritage; Twickenham, Site of Popes Villa (1878) with permission of English Heritage
The In the Footsteps of Henry Taunt exhibition of Henry Taunt’s photographs from the late 19th century is about to go on show at the River & Rowing Museum at Henley on Thames. Here’s the museum’s press release:
‘The exhibition pairs the finest photographs by famous Victorian photographer Henry Taunt together with modern images taken of the exact same locations along the Thames by digital photographers Graham Diprose and Jeff Robins. These ‘then and now’ images capture the changing river over 135 years from its source near Coates, a tiny village in Gloucestershire down to the Houses of Parliament, London. Taunt’s images were sourced from the archives of English Heritage (National Monuments Record), Oxfordshire County Council (Oxfordshire Studies) and The River & Rowing Museum. River Thames Revisited, a new book, accompanies the exhibition.
‘Taunt is credited with single handedly transforming the popularity of the Thames during the Victorian era through his series of photographs, hand drawn maps and text first created in 1872. His beautiful guide to the Thames New Map of the River Thames sparked a national love affair with the river that remains to this day. The associated tourist boom radically changed the fortunes of towns and villages along the riverbank – creating a landscape and tourist scene still enjoyed today. Without this burgeoning national attraction to the Thames, Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men In A Boat and Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in The Willows might never have been written.
‘Taunt’s photographs depict an idyllic working river, with ferrymen, barges and horses moving people and goods from town to town. Diprose and Robins’ images capture a leisure based river and with it associated landscape changes and modern building. One of the most marked changes is the substantial increase in trees and riverside vegetation. During Taunt’s time the riverbank would be clear to enable horses, pulling barges, to move freely. As the goods moved from river to road, so the riverbanks returned to their natural habitat, in some cases trees and vegetation completely obscuring Taunt’s original view. The modern river is easier to navigate with more locks and fewer flash weirs appearing in the photos than Taunt’s pictures.’
The release came with potted biographies of Taunt, and the two modern photographers featured in this exhibition.
Some Intheboatshed.net posts with Thames content
•From the Thames to the Solent by Una boat, an account from 1868
•Famous Thames sailing barge Cambria comes to Faversham for restoration
•A feast of rowing boats at the Beale Park Boat Show
•Three Men in a Boat
•At last – free online designs for a skiff and a racing punt