Battersea Reach. George Seymour. c. 1882-83. Source: Watson, “The Lower Thames —I,” 488. [Click on image to enlarge it.] Image capture and formatting by George P. Landow. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Internet Archive and the University of Toronto and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Very narrow and patched and crippled is Battersea Bridge; yet, withal, there is much that is pleasant in its clusters of wooden piles. They were laid a very little more than a century ago ; but they have assumed the appearance of almost unimaginable age. Also they have in perfection that dark mossy greenness which is so seldom seen except on some decaying pier which is lashed and beaten by the sea. The timbers of the bridge make a sombre frame for the broad crescent of Battersea Reach. There is nothing specially attractive about the church, which stands by the river on the Surrey side, but it always has a fine foreground of steamboats lying at rest, sometimes for weeks on weeks, but always fewest in the summer-time, when the average Londoner frequents the river, as he expresses it, “for a blow.” Beyond the Reach, the buildings which we have passed are no longer repellent, for thus seen, in mass they take attractive forms, and become beautiful by reason of those deep purple tones with which the kindly atmosphere enshrouds and refines them. The scene is closed in by a low line of hills, on which the trees and shadows are sleeping. Turner was wont to call this the English view of the river. To the long, sedate stretch of water between Chelsea Pier and York Road he was accustomed to give the name of the Dutch view. There could, indeed, scarcely be a greater contrast than between what one sees looking up the river and then downward, from a point like this. Were but the Thames broader it would be easy enough to imagine oneself upon the Scheldt; and more so in these days even than in the last years of Turner's life, for on the Surrey side, along the edge of Battersea Park, there is a straight and formal bank, edged with diminutive and formal trees, which only lack a church and a windmill here and there to make the illusion perfect. [490-91]

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Watson, Aaron. “The Lower Thames —I.” The Magazine of Art. 6 (1882-83): 485-92. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of Toronto Library. Web. 15 November 2014

Last modified 15 November 2014