Barge of the Fishmonger’s Company, 1773


State Barges on the Thames

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This barge, though later modified, was built in 1773 by Charles Cownden of Southwark and was apparently very like the previous one, built forty years earlier by John Hall of Lambeth. The barges must have differed in style but the dimensions of the 1733 barge were followed exactly. This was 22.7 m (74 ft 5 in) long by 3.5 m (11 ft 6in) broad, with a house 10 m (33 ft) long. The shield on the transom was supported by two figures of Fame sounding trumpets and there were ‘two Sea Lions for Elbows at the Prime Warden’s seat; a Merman and Mermaid fixed before the House; two boys riding on a Dolphin on each side’. In 1798, the company entrusted the repainting of the barge to one J. Edwards, who considered that ‘the paintings required an artist of ability ‘˜…if not they may be spoilt in the hands of a common house painter’. He undertook to complete it for £110, and ended with a catalogue of his works, including ‘the painted salloon at the Queen’s House’. Although the building of a new barge was proposed on at least one occasion during the first thirty years of the nineteenth century, there is no record of one being built. Both William Lyon and Searle’s produced estimates for repairing the barge in 1835-6, and in 1837 Lyon undertook to keep the barge in repair for £15 a year. It is therefore probable that the 1773 barge was made to last until it was no longer needed.

Additional information

Dimensions 38 × 23 cm