The pre-eminent annual amateur rowing event in the world of sport, the Henley Regatta began as a tourist attraction in 1839. The event immediately drew a large following, including the patronage of the British monarchy, which grants the use of the name ‘Henley Royal’, by which it is known today. For more than 160 years, single rowers have taken the mark between the logs on a narrow stretch of the Thames River for a head-to-head pull in elimination heats. Local and international crews of four and of eight face off as well in the week-long tournament each summer.
Splendidly flourished with a strong sense of the well-organized chaos facing such a large sporting event, the artist Maze succeeds in capturing the multi-faceted layers of the British upper-classes as competitors and audience. Judges positioned in the observation tower are the only ones elevated above the royal box and tented areas on the green English sod. Racers maneuver on a waterway full of spectators taking turns at oars as well. There is even a punt-driven boat porting two parasol holding women, harkening back to the first regattas, which were races between the Venetian gondoliers.
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