The large wooden boat dominates the lower
front center of the picture plane. The well-highlighted boat rests on
dry land, diagonally placed (in linear perspective) to complete its formation
at the river's upper edge. The narrow river placed approximately two thirds
into the picture plane, divides a broad expanse of land (in the lower
portion) from a larger expanse of sky and tree tops (in the upper portion).
There only appears to be four people within
the compositional space, the most prominent being the male figure highlighted
in the shadows center front. Two figures are placed left and right of
the central boat, obscured by the landscape, and a third (in a blue shirt)
on a boat on the river to the left of the larger boat.
Although the landscape and bright weather
dominate the composition, the natural light highlights the surrounding
activity, as well as the position of the central boat.
The activity of boat making was prolific
along the rivers and newly created canals of England. The central placement
of the naturally lit wooden boat draws our attention to its prominence.
Obviously hand made, and in a position to be launched, the wooden boat
structure shadows the human figure in the foreground. All four figures
within the compositional space appear to be subordinate to the natural
surroundings and man made structures.
The inclusion of larger trees, soft focused
and in the background adds to the value of nature and in an environment
that must depend on those very trees to build the boats. Both coexist
peacefully within the picture frame, and in a picturesque fashion.
happily has England been preserved in the midst of these surrounding troubles!
Not that her state is altogether prosperous and secure. Wherever you look
evils exist within her, threatening future consequences terrible to contemplate
On the whole, we do not have to witness much distress about here. Papa's
mills give employment to so many, and the people in this village, having
both better and more regular pay than the agricultural labourers, get
many little comforts about them and are not reduced to starvation on the
first disaster. You see books on their tables and muslin blinds in their
windows, very often, and altogether a degree of civilization about the
place which it is very comforting to witness
Evans; Letter to Sebastian Dickinson, 1848