For this book on the River Thames, Chris Morris has added another element to his previously much admired photographic treatments (e.g. 'Portrait of the Severn' and 'The Great Brunel') by including a personal narrative text. While his main agenda is to reflect in his photographs the culture, history and habits of the river a strand of memoir (amplified by archive photos) acts as a counterpoint within the commentary.
The book takes as its starting point the quest to find the old family boat, the Sir Humphrey of the book's title. This search soon proves to be a catalyst helping rekindle childhood memories, which blend with the modern commentary and stories of the river encountered from the source to the sea. Unexpected connections (e.g. Windsor being best remembered as a venue to watch the Rolling Stones in 1963) offer diversions during the river journeys.
From rush cutters and medieval stone bridges on the upper reaches, fishermen and restored steam launches on the middle river, through tourist London to the Barrier on the tideway, a wide selection of its many aspects coalesce to produce a portrait of the Thames, true to today while stillredolent of the traditions and culture of England's greatest river.