In this tranquil scene a horse pulls a barge, steered by a woman, through an aqueduct. Behind the barge, a smaller boat is towed by another horse. On the right hand side of the aqueduct a boy enjoys the view, while to the left two cows are at the water’s edge.
The Bath and Westbury Railway ran between the towns of Bath in Avon and Westbury in Wiltshire. This aqueduct may well form part of the Avon and Kennet Canal which was constructed in the late 18th century to link the Rivers Thames and Avon, providing a cheap transport link between London and Bath. The canal was heavily used for goods transport until the Great Western Railway was completed in 1841.
Little is known of the historical and genre painter Edwin Frederick Holt. He exhibited his work in London from 1850 to 1865, showing seven works at the Royal Academy, twelve at the British Institution and 36 at the Royal Society of British Artists, Suffolk Street. Holt lived at over ten separate addresses during the 15 years that he was exhibiting in London, most of which were in Camden Town. In 1857, his wife exhibited ‘A Study from Nature’ at The Royal Society of British Artists.
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