Lower Reach sounding


by Richard Wilson RA

A Cultureship project



On the 8th September 2012 The Cultureship took part in Thames Festival and closing weekend of London 2012 with a spectacular performance using ship’s horns by twice-Turner Prize-nominated artist Richard Wilson RA.  

With 17 ships air and mechanical horns and a chattering plumage of signal flags, the ship itself  sang her own shanty, calling, as she retraced the cargo vessel journeys of the past, to the very fabric of the Thames and its iconic architecture, both historic and modern. De Walvisch set sail westward, passing Trinity Buoy Wharf for the first sounding at 7pm and then onward towards Wapping.  The bastules of Tower Bridge were raised to let De Walvisch into the pool of London at 8.45pm.

Public viewing was from the riverside walkway at City Hall, and huge crowds gathered for the main sounding performance. Lit red at the stern and ghostly white at the sails, De Walvisch gracefully sailed around the pool, passing the Belfast and back around to City Hall. Tower Bridge was raised for the ship’s departure at 9.15pm, with Wilson sounding the final horns as the ship sailed beneath.