The view shows the two piers at Lowestoft (both built 1831), which were 500 feet long when completed and situated either side of the harbour entrance. Today, they are known as the Inner North Pier (left) and the Inner South Pier. This work was painted after the South Pier was extended to 1,320 feet in 1846 but before reading rooms were constructed on the pier in 1853-54. A bandstand and jetty were added to South Pier in 1884.
In 1843 contractor for railways and public works Sir Samuel Morton Peto came to Lowestoft and, within four years, made considerable improvements. He expanded the harbor and encouraged tourism to the seaside resort by constructing a railway line. The railway also transported the large quantities of fish caught in local waters across the country, bolstering the town’s already thriving fishing industry. One of Peto’s steam trains can be seen on the South Pier in this watercolour.
In 2005, a watercolour view by Edward Duncan entitled ‘Regatta off Lowestoft’ (1855) was sold through Christie’s. The work is smaller than this example and does include the reading rooms on the South Pier. It shows the scene from the shore, where a large crowd of spectators is watching the regatta.
Edward Duncan, a marine and landscape painter in watercolour and engraver, was the son of an artist and engraver, also named Edward. He began his career in the studio of Robert Havell senior and later set up business on his own, engraving sporting and shipping subjects, particularly by the William John Huggins. He later married Huggins’s daughter, Berthia. He became a member of the Royal Institution in 1833, serving as Vice-President and Treasurer, but resigned in 1847. Two years later he became a member of the Royal Society of Painters in Water Colours. Between 1843 and 1851, he worked as an illustrator for the ‘Illustrated London News’. Duncan lived in north London throughout his life. He died at his home near Haverstock Hill, aged 78.
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