On the Thames at Greenwich - Departure of the Boat

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On the Thames at Greenwich - Departure of the Boat 1862
  • Scottish Art
During his visits to London in 1861 and 1862, George Washington Wilson took many photographs of the River Thames. At that time it was an extremely busy waterway, carrying shipping from all over the world into the capital. This stereoscopic photograph is one of a series of three, entitled ‘Waiting for, The Arrival of, and The Departure of the Boat’, which together form a narrative sequence. The images followed on from Wilson’s series ‘The Thames at Greenwich’, taken in 1861. These picturesque photographs portray the river in an artistic and poetic way, whilst drawing attention to the activity and progress of modern times. However, they give no indication of the fact that in reality the river was known as ‘a huge unquiet cesspool’, or open sewer.

Glossary Open

Stereoscopic Photograph

Two photographs taken at a distance from each other equivalent to the distance between the eyes, mounted together on card, and viewed in a hand viewer. Stereoscopic photography was invented to imitate the vision of both eyes, and the effect is three-dimensional.

Stereoscopic Photograph


  • Acc. No. PGP R 817
  • Medium Albumen prints, stereoscopic pair
  • Size 8 x 7.4 cm (left); 8 x 7.2 cm (right)
  • Credit Gift of Mrs. Riddell in memory of Peter Fletcher Riddell, 1985