Let’s continue with another entry on the subject of female rowers, and how they can be seen …
In 1932, the painting “The Young Rower” by Lancelot Myles Glasson (1894-1959) was shown at the Royal Academy in London. It created both admiration and dismay among the public and the critics. Of course, a painting of a young woman with the upper part of her body naked was daring for its time. Nevertheless, “The Young Rower” was chosen as Picture of the Year in 1932. For many of the women at that time, it was seen as a symbol of the “modern woman”, while others saw the painting only as an erotic picture.
If it had not been for the title of the painting, and that we can see the handle and loom of an oar on the right, it would be difficult to see it as a “rowing picture”. Without the title of the painting and the detail of the loom, it had been a half naked young woman in a locker room. And one can wonder why on earth is there an oar in the locker room?
I read on the web somewhere that the model’s name was Freda, but I have also seen someone claiming that the model was her mother, age 22 “and unmarried in 1932”. But this lady’s mother’s name was “Kate (aka Kitty or Kay) Hyder,” not Freda. There is more information about Glasson’s painting in the magazine Picture Post, last week of January 1939, but I have not been able to get hold of that article.
The original oil painting is now at Rochdale Art Gallery in Rochdale, Lancashire, England.
In autumn 1991, the magazine Regatta had an ad for reproduced limited prints of Glasson’s oil painting, which were sold by The Amateur Rowing Association, ARA. For £145 you could get your own copy of “The Young Rower”. Soon the magazine’s letters-to-the-editor column was filled with both angry and supportive letters. So one could say that after 60 years nothing had changed in this matter in England.
And if you wonder, yes, I did buy a copy – and no, it is not for sale!