Click here to skip to content



Photographer: Emerson, Peter Henry

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1887

Shelfmark: 1869.b.28

Item number: 6

Length: 11

Width: 11

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

"Every morning in Summer we were wont to push our jolly-boat round to a secluded corner of the broad, in order to have a plunge in the cool water, and nearly always to the same spot came a group of merry, laughing village boys, who hastily undressing would wade out on the hard bottom and suddenly appearing through the rush would stand eyeing us, their white skins gleaming against the dark gladdon, and their oily reflections broken by the wavelets made by our movements. Suddenly with shouts and laughter they would dive and swim and chase each other through the weedy depths until exhausted they would swim in close to the sedgy shore and stand resting. Many a day did we watch these young bathers, whose graceful movements were beautiful to behold. One day we determined to make a picture of them and as they waded forth through the gladdon on their way to the turfy bank we secured them. Over the trees shown in our plate can be seen the gable ends of a cottage, the first of a row in which the bathers lived, happy dwellers on the banks of these Norfolk waters. Their pleasures are few and simple, but after being among them, one is often led to ponder as to who is the happier - the cultured men of the town, or the ignorant inhabitant of the village."

Text by Peter Henry Emerson from the book 'Idyls of the Norfolk Broads'

Search within this collection

Elsewhere on our websites


Latest events - register free online

Mobile app

For iPhone, iPad and Android

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Email link to a friend

Write a brief note to accompany the email

Your friend's email address: