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IIIF Actions
John Nixon, ca. 1760–1818

Skating in St. James' Park

Additional Title(s):

Figures Skating in St. James' Park

ca. 1790
Materials & Techniques:
Watercolor, pen and brown ink, and graphite on medium, slightly textured, cream wove paper mounted to board
Sheet: 12 3/4 × 27 7/8 inches (32.4 × 70.8 cm)

Inscribed on verso in graphite, lower left: "W282[...]; center: "P"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
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IIIF Manifest:

Ice skates were introduced in England in the late seventeenth century, and skating became a popular winter recreation. John Nixon's humorous depiction of skating and sliding on a frozen canal in St. James's park probably commemorate the severe winter of 1788-9, when the river Thames froze over for the first time since 1683. The frost fair held on the river was a popular attraction and proved lucrative for the many enterprising vendors of food, drink, and souvenirs. The Public Advertizer noted on January 5, 1789: "This Booth is to let. The present possessor of the premises is Mr. Frost. His affairs however, not being permanent footing, a dissolution or bankruptcy may soon be expected, and a final settlement of the whole entrusted to Mr. Thaw." The Thames was soon to be the permanent domain of "Mr. That," since the demolition of the Old London Bridge in 1831 improved the flow of the river to such an extent that it no longer froze over.

Gillian Forrester

Wilcox, Forrester, O'Neil, Sloan. The Line of Beauty: British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2001. pg. 112 cat. no. 94

The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-05-19 - 2001-08-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

Pleasures and Pastimes (Yale Center for British Art, 1990-02-21 - 1990-04-29) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

British Comic Art 1730 - 1830 (Museum of Art and Archaelogy, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1988-10-14 - 1988-12-04) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Elisabeth Fairman, Pleasures and pastimes, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, 1990, p. 28, no. 189, DA485 F25 1990 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Scott Wilcox, Line of beauty : British drawings and watercolors of the eighteenth century, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, pp. 112-3, no. 94, NC228 W53 2001 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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