Barlow Boats

This was one of my first serious watercolours.

The inspiration came from talking to the Braunston Lockeeper, standing on the bridge by the bottom lock looking down past the boat yard. We could hear the staccato of an approaching narrow boat engine, and as they appeared in the distance through the morning mist the lock-keeper said, "They be Barlow Boats". "How on earth could you tell." I asked as they were tiny in the distance, "Aye," he said,"Look at their painted cratches".

The boats reached the locks, and they looked beautiful. I think that was my first realisation of the different colour schemes of the boats. Prior to that i had just seen them as boats. Clayton's and Barlow boats were in my mind the most beautoiful of all the working boats."

Years later I tried to recapture that memory in my watercolour."