Ros Burgin’s ‘Thames Drawing #2’ is a large-scale drawing mapping the River using names of boats that use the Thames. This original graphite drawing describes the 42-mile stretch known as the Tidal Thames flowing through Central London from Teddington Lock in the west to the Thames Barrier in the east. The artist cycled along the banks of the Thames recording boat names which are then written on paper as a continuous flow of words in the exact shape of the river.
It is a part of a series of art-works based on the Thames in which the Artist is exploring the nature of the River which bisects London and through exhibiting these artworks in various locations in London is seeking to engage the public in the life of the River Thames.
The River is variously home to people, a place of work, leisure, competitive sport and a natural environment supporting many species of fish and fowl. These drawings are based on the shape of the River as defined by Marine Charts and scaled accordingly.
The first drawing “Thames Drawing 1”, is 4.6 metres long and made from English Rock Salt cast directly on the floor of The Muse Gallery as part of Burgin’s solo show ‘Migration’, March-April 2016. The artist chose salt because it not only refers to the tidal nature of the Thames but also draws attention to function of the river as a trading highway which historically created enormous wealth for London. The Latin word Sal gave rise to the word Salary because Roman soldiers were paid part of their wages in salt, which at the time was the most valuable commodity traded.