Rowing Skiffs

One of the paintings we viewed in the exhibit from the Pola Museum last month was "The Pink Skiff" painted by Claude Monet in 1890. It is a large painting - about 135x176 cm (53x69 inches) - and depicts two women in a skiff, perhaps two of his daughters, rowing on the Epte River in France. It was his last large painting of figures in nature and an exploration of how to capture the motion of grass and shadows under water.

Image hosting by Photobucket
The Pink Skiff - Claude Monet

Interestingly, it has some Japanese elements in it, such as the color of the skiff, the exageration of the length of the oar, the diagonal placement of the skiff and oar, and cutting off the boat at the right edge of the painting. Interesting, but not surprising. Monet collected Japanese prints.

While some of us love to kayak, rowing a skiff was a popular activity in the 19th century. It still is to some extent in certain places. One such place is the River Thames in England. Some of the other Monet paintings we saw were of the Houses of Parliament on the Thames. And the Thames reminds me of a story. (Oh come now, I can hear you all moaning and saying "oh, no". Just relax and read on).

Image hosting by Photobucket

Anyway, there was a gentleman who used to go rowing on the Thames by himself every weekend. One day he was merrily rowing along when a barge passed close by. The wake of the barge tossed his boat a bit and he lost grip of one of his oars, which slipped out of the davit and quickly drifted out of his reach. Needless to say perhaps, it was going to be a bit of a "sticky wicket" to get home with only one oar.

Happily, our gentleman spotted another skiff in which a man was rowing two ladies about, seated in the stern in their Sunday finest with pretty parasols to shade them. In the bow of the other boat our gentleman spied an extra pair of oars. Ah, he was saved! With great relief he called over to the other boat, "I say, my good man, could you lend me one of those oars?"

The other man's face turned red and he immediately turned his boat away, calling back in an indignant voice, "I beg your pardon governor, thems ain't 'ores, thems me sisters!"


FH2O said...


That's a good one and I'll try to remember it!

I've yet to row a skiff and if I get to row one, one fine day, I'll for sure think of you!

Pandabonium said...

Ah, fh2o, you know that anytime I mention kayaking, you are one of the people I have in mind. 'glad you liked the joke.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Ba-dum BUM!

(Still sighing...)

Pandabonium said...

My brother told me that yarn. I'm afraid that such puns are all you can expect from me.

Peace said...

hi panda, i like this painting. I love painting. Thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...


That's an "oarible" tale to post on a public Blog!

Speaking of which, I've always wondered why the U in public isn't pronounced the same as the U in cubic? Is it just that it's an L of a difference?

Peace be with you.


Anonymous said...

good 'un anon!

Pandabonium said...

Peace, I'm glad you like it. There were 16 Monets at the exhibit and each one was special in some way. I love painting too.

anonymous dn - very punny, you should be paddled for that one. Stop trying to row like Renoir painted.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Speaking of which, I've always wondered why the U in public isn't pronounced the same as the U in cubic? Is it just that it's an L of a difference?

If it were pronounced that way, it would sound too much like "pubic", and we would be in for one helluva Freudian nightmare!

agus said...

I must say, my good man, that was splendid! I got the same ring the second I came across one to many oars in the second paragraph. Could you blame me, after looking at the painting?

I was amusing myself with the many fishy sentences; what with 'getting home with only one oar' and 'rowing two ladies about'. Just as I was wondering if this was merely an innocent tale, 'one of those oars' hit me.
Hit me good.

YD said...

oooopss.... panda did it again!

nice one! now i m reconsidering my rowing trip with my friend. hehe..

Pandabonium said...

Agus - glad you had a laugh. ;)

YD - being up a creek without a paddle is nothing like being up the Thames without an oar.

YD said...

hehehe... well the only river i've got here is the Thames.... and recently the whale decided to swim into it too..

Chen said...


and btw, everytime I read whatever post regarding kayaking, I will think of fh2o as well :P

Anonymous said...

Hi, it seems you love Monet. I'd like to post you a painting by Monet which is your photo named : thamesrow.jpg. Or try to search internet : W137 Barques. W is for Wildenstein - 137 is the chronoligical number - Barques is boat in french.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pandabonium said...

Anonymous - thanks for that information. I'll do some searches and see if I can find it.