By comparing the angle of the face, and especially the highlights on chin and right cheekbone, it had first appeared to me that Monamy intended to create a likeness of Broughton, and that he based his portrayal directly on the mezzotint, or a portrait from which the print was made. Now, however, June 2009, by taking all factors into account, the stronger likelihood is that the first formally regulated race did not take place until the year after Doggett's death in 1721. The first winner, following Doggett's legacy in 1722, was William Morris, a waterman from Rotherhithe, as noted in Thomas Doggett Deceased, by Cook and Nickalls. A very convincing case for Morris, who was born in 1699, as the oarsman portrayed in Monamy's painting has been made by one of his direct descendants, Mrs Hilary Byers, née Morris. This would satisfactorily fix the date of the painting as 1722, which, from the appearance of the hall in the background, makes excellent sense.

NOTE. In a letter to me, dated 4th August, 2011, Mrs Hilary Byers reports that a visitor to Watermen's Hall was told by the guide that the race "was in fact called the Brunswick Competition until after Thomas Doggett died in 1721, when it was renamed Doggett's Coat and Badge. So technically, William Morris was the first Doggett's winner in 1722". Pending further information, this appears to be a sensible and satisfactory conclusion. It would also confirm that the painting by Peter Monamy accurately depicts the first winner of the re-named race, and that it was executed shortly afterwards. The confusing and misleading label must have been added at some very much later time; possibly when the Hall moved from the waterfront, in 1780.

There is one further intriguing fact that suggests that Monamy may conceivably have had a personal interest in depicting William Morris, the winner of the race in 1722. On 6 May, that same year, William Morris married a “very pregnant” Margaret Randall, at St Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, London. Peter Monamy had a sister, Ann, who in 1701 had married a man named John Randell. Spellings of names were arbitrary at this time. Could William Morris have just recently married Monamy’s niece ? More research is indicated.

In A Book for a Rainy Day, by J.T.Smith, first published in 1845, he says: "On the 1st August 1722, the year after Doggett's death, pursuant to the tenor of his will, the prize was rowed for, and has been given annually ever since." In the 1905 edition, a note is inserted by the editor, Wilfred Whitten, saying that "Smith is mistaken as to the date of the first race", and he goes on to repeat the information given on the picture's label, although he then says that the first race took place in 1716, where the label says 1715. He also says that Broughton was the first winner, which he seems to have got from Hone's Everyday Book, about 1864. On balance, it would appear that Whitten is more likely to be mistaken than Smith, although races under Doggett's direction evidently did take place from 1715 onwards.

Austin Dobson, in William Hogarth, 1907, under the heading of Paintings of Uncertain Date, p.207, records a painting of John Broughton, the Prize-fighter: "Exhibited in 1817 by Lord Camden; belonged then to Mr.H.R.Willett, at whose sale in 1869 it was sold for £75 12s (12 x 17½ in.). There is a version at Lowther Castle (Earl of Lonsdale). Dobson also lists two prints featuring Broughton "by or after" Hogarth, Broughton & Slack; and John Broughton, Prize Fighter, "From the Original Picture (of the same size) by William Hogarth. In the Collection of Henry Ralph Willett, Esqre of Merly House, in the County of Dorset". 11½ x 16½.

October 2006. Serendipity has now provided me with the likeness at left, above. This comes from Wonderful Characters, by Wilson & Caulfield, 1869, but it may have first appeared as early as 1821. The author(s) give an interesting account of Broughton's career.


Broughton simply cannot have been born in 1704 and won the first race in 1715.

Otherwise, a statement that he forced "the pile-driving force upon his man" is fully credible.

Almost all the images on this and associated pages were obtained by courtesy of The Company of Watermen & Lightermen of the River Thames, whose interest and generosity is gratefully acknowledged. When discussing the painting with the Clerk of the Company, who is also an artist, he drew my attention to the manner in which the light falls on the sculler and his craft, which he considered to be skilful and remarkable. The oarsman has his left oar in the backward rowlock, to hold the boat against the current. I cannot think of another painting like this, produced before or since, and consider it uniquely evocative of its time and place, and the event it commemorates. A sophisticated judge of marine painting would naturally much prefer a beautiful "shipping" scene by Leemans.

When Old Noll, with great Lewis, and Baubon are forgot,
And when numberless Kings in oblivion shall rot.

"A father's dislike for his eldest son is a universal characteristic of the human race which has greatly exercised generations of psycho-analysts. ..... the most obvious, and the most bitter, example of a father's loathing for his eldest son is provided by the relationship between George II and Frederick, Prince of Wales." From Blood Royal, Christopher Sinclair-Stevenson, pp 59-60. Since it rapidly became clear after 1727 that George II was favouring Walpole, it is small wonder that the Opposition gathered around Frederick, Prince of Wales, who was foully treated by both his parents.

It doesn't seem to me, in this day and age, that fathers generally loathe their eldest sons, although I can admittedly think of a few cases where this has been so. The dislike of George II for his heir Frederick was quite phenomenal. Some might say it was based on fear of an oedipal revenge expected from the son, but I have come across no record of Frederick expressing hatred for his parents, although he had cause enough. Roman Catholicism, presumably, is a religion of the Father, whereas Lutheran Protestantism is a religion of the revolutionary Son.

The barge designed for Poor Fred by Kent, above, now in the Maritime Museum, would have been powered by Thames watermen. As liberty-inclined Hanoverians, it may have given them some satisfaction to transport the figurehead of the Walpole opposition, inadequate though he may have been.

More on Thomas Doggett.

Doggett's 283rd (?) Race Results slip, 13th July 1998

Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.

watermen's hall one       watermen's hall two
broughton and doggett's coat & badge
more on thomas doggett
article 1981       article 1983
monamy website index


© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2003, 2009, 2015
all rights reserved