'First boat race on the Mersey between cadets of HMS Conway and HMS Worcester, 11 June 1891' by Charles W Wyllie (1859-1923)

Painting of large and small sailing ships on the river

A boat race between the cadets of the training ships HMS Conway, moored on the Mersey, and HMS Worcester, moored on the Thames was an annual event from 1890. This painting shows the race on the Mersey in June 1891 when the home team from Conway won by twelve lengths.

This painting shows the moments immediately after the end of the race, with the winning boat from the Conway in the centre of the canvas. The crew are celebrating their victory by standing and waving their arms in the air while some way behind the Worcester cadets are still struggling to complete the course.

To the left are a group of small boats with officials and well wishers, together with three steamers filled with spectators. The largest of these is a tender of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, with its buff funnel.

Immediately to the right is the Conway herself. Cadets are lining the decks and are in the rigging and on the yards cheering on their shipmates. Behind Conway arew three further training ships, Indefatigable, Akbar and Clarence. The vessels were moored off the Wirral shore between New Ferry and Rock Ferry and the pier for the ferry boats at Rock Ferry can be seen in the far right hand distance.

This painting is on display in the Life at Sea gallery.

  • Watercolour, 50 x 102cm
  • Accession number MMM.1998.44