Many visitors to our gallery travel a long way to see us, so they often wish to see other attractions in the vicinity and ask us for advice. A seasonal favourite of ours is the annual Swan Upping ceremony on the River Thames in nearby Marlow. Rowing in traditional skiffs from Sunbury to Abingdon, the Queen’s Royal Swan Uppers, together with members of the Worshipful Guilds of Vintners and Dyers record the official swan census on this stretch of the river under the watchful eye of David Barber, the Queen’s Swan Marker. Dating back to the 12th century, it is a social spectacle with a serious agenda. The crews depart after breakfast from the Compleat Angler in Marlow after meeting with local dignitaries and school-children, and a flotilla of small water craft usually follow them to witness their operation.
We have no artistic depictions of swans currently in our gallery, but we think this goose teapot by Christopher Smart looks as regal as any swan gliding up the Thames this summer.