Copyright © Richard Harpum
In 1976, whilst a student at Cambridge University, I was fortunate enough to be selected to compete in the Oxford and Cambridge varsity Boat Race on the Thames in London. In the 1990s the alumni of both universities, most of whom were in the 40s and 50s started competing against each other as “veterans” (now called “masters”) and every year participated in a 3-way regatta with Aniene Rowing Club in Rome (many members being ex-Olympic oarsmen). The location of these regattas rotated from Rome – Cambridge - Rome – Oxford, etc. These were very popular events and I participated in them several times in the late 1990s early 2000s.
This painting is a depiction of a race on the Tiber River (del Fiumi Tevere) in Rome between Cambridge (light blues) and Oxford (dark blues) veterans over a 600 metre course leading down to just east of the Ponte Sant’ Angelo, seen here with the Vatican City in the background from the Ponte Umberto 1. I remember that it was a frantic sprint lasting 1 minute 35 seconds, with both crews rowing at a high rating. The crews were neck-and-neck all the way but unfortunately (for me) Oxford won by just one metre!
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** A Studio Proof canvas print is a giclée print on canvas that is hand-embellished by the artist using the same medium as the original painting (usually acrylic), signed, numbered and then coated in 3 layers of UV-resistant varnish. It is then mounted on stretchers ready for framing.
*** Giclée printing is an advanced form of ink jet printing that applies a wide range of coloured inks that are designed to be light-fast for at least 75 years.