Hugh R. Riviere’s ‘In The Golden Days’

In Thursday’s entry, ‘Oarsmen Who Gave Their Lives’, Tim Koch mentions the magnificent painting, ‘In The Golden Days’ by Hugh R. Riviere (1869-1956). About this painting (see above), The Art Journal, volume 62 (1900) wrote: “If only for the freshness of subject, the freshness of observation, Mr. Hugh Riviere’s ‘In The Golden Days’ […] is welcome. The play of sunlight on the faces of the Magdalen eight, being coached on the Upper Thames, the sense of movement, a further claim to attention.”

It is through Tim that an image of ‘In The Golden Days’ has reached me so I could post it here. The painting belongs to Thames RC and in an e-mail Mr. James Elder, the Honorary Secretary of Thames RC, explains that “that prints of the painting in various sizes should shortly be available via Bridgeman On Demand. Prints of ‘The Start at Henley’ are already available from the same site [click here to go to the site] They also have a few of our more interesting photos (e.g. Jack Beresford, Rupert Guinness, George Vize, some 1870s Henley crews and interwar Olympic crews). Their naming of these is a bit wrong as yet (they’ve only just been uploaded) so some are a bit tricky to find but this should improve in the coming weeks.”

In the same e-mail to Tim, Mr. Elder has also attached a photograph (see above) of the War Memorial which Tim mentioned in the Thursday entry. Among other things, Mr. Elder writes, “You can also see the left hand plaque ’Dulce et decorum est’ in place.” He also mentions that the furniture and replaced plaques should be back very shortly due to the renovations made now when Thames RC is celebrating its first 150 years.

’Dulce et decorum est’ is from the Roman poet Horace’s Ode, which begins,

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori:
mors et fugacem persequitur virum
nec parcit inbellis iuventae
poplitibus timidove tergo.

(How sweet and fitting it is to die for one’s country:
Death pursues the man who flees,
Spares not the hamstrings or cowardly backs

Of battle-shy youths.)

’Dulce et decorum est’ is also the title of a war poem by the famous Wilfred Owen (1893-1918). He was killed at the Battle of the Sambre, just a week before the war ended. His poem, which shows the horror of war, was published in 1920.

If you are interested in war poetry, please go to Professor Tim Kendall’s eminent blog War Poetry.

Tim also sent me a link to a list of the 42 Blues killed during the First World War, in 1914-1918. Click on the link and scroll down the page and there you will find a link to the 270 Henley competitors killed in that war. Last year, I posted a long article – in two entries – about one famous oarsman on these lists, F.S. Kelly, who was killed in 1916. Click here to read these entries.

My warmest thanks to Tim Koch and James Elder for their great contributions to this entry, and a special thank you to Thames RC for allowing me to post ‘In The Golden Days’ on my blog!


  1. Hi

    It did make it on there but it seems that Bridgeman took it down again at some point, probably as part of an automated system because the copyright situation was unclear.

    As it happens I was recently able to resolve the copyright situation, so I have asked Bridgeman to put it back up again. I'll try to post again when I know it's gone back up.

    James Elder

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