“After the Regatta”

I had hoped to share a sporting image here on the blog while the Summer Olympics were going on in Tokyo, but the two weeks went by so fast that I didn’t manage it.  Since today is the day after the Olympics, it seems appropriate to share a stereoview titled After the Regatta.  Published by the Kilburn Brothers Stereoscopic View Company in Littleton, New Hampshire, the photograph was probably taken around 1870 by Benjamin West Kilburn (1827-1909).  Numbered 1003 in a series, the location isn’t identified, but the Smithsonian has another example of the stereograph with the location Woods Hole written in pencil on the back.  That’s probably accurate, as No. 1001 in the series is titled Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and No. 1002 is titled The Regatta.

'After the Regatta' by Kilburn 2'After the Regatta' by Kilburn 3


The young women in the rowboat in the foreground are posed mid-stroke, creating an illusion of motion.  In reality, everyone in the composition is holding still in order to remain in focus.  The only things actually moving are two American flags: a large one on land and a smaller one in the women’s boat.

'After the Regatta' by Kilburn 4

'After the Regatta' by Kilburn 5

'After the Regatta' by Kilburn 6


The scene looks so tranquil and idyllic.  Wouldn’t you like to be there, if only for an hour or two?


The same women’s boat can also be seen in No. 1002, The Regatta.



34 thoughts on ““After the Regatta”

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  1. It’s a beautiful composition and it is great that you’ve shared a photo featuring women doing sport, because as you say those are rarely seen in photographs from long ago. I do like that everyone is wearing a hat!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This seems to answer the question so many of us had when you posted the photo of the rowing group — yes, women did go rowing in those outfits! What I’m most curious about is the long, double-looping line extending from the dock to — what? one of the boats? I can’t quite get a good enough look to figure it out. Maybe it’s a mooring line.

    You’re certainly right that going in the water in one of those dresses could be dangerous — even lethal. I went in once in January, wearing jeans, sweatshirt, jacket, etc. It was a bit of a struggle to get to the surface and then on to the swim platform of a boat. I didn’t have as much trouble as a woman I know who went in on New Year’s Eve at a yacht club, wearing a fur coat. Oh, the stories! They’re endless!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m pretty sure the double line extends to the unoccupied sailboat in the background. By the way, Linda, what would you call the type of boat the women are rowing? The Smithsonian website refers to it as a shell, but it certainly isn’t a racing shell. Maybe a dinghy? I grew up paddling canoes on fresh water, so I don’t know the terminology for larger boats.


      1. There are so many regional names for boats — and different types of boats — that I’m really not sure. That said, the construction of these is lapstrake, so I looked up ‘Massachusetts lapstrake rowing boats” and found this boat builder. It sure looks to me as though the boats in the photos could be Banks Dories.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes, tranquil is the word. Your words beautifully caught the essence of the photograph.
    Lovely to see the women in their Victorian outfit, not within the narrow boundaries of four walls. ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an evocative set of images,much more genteel than the Olympics (much as J enjoyed them).

    Great to know that women as well as men could indulge in rowing boats.

    Liked by 1 person

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