Oil on Canvas
88 x 108.5 cm
The handsome, three-bay Eagle still stands, although an additional bay has been added since this picture was painted. Here we see the landlord in 1857, James Bott, standing proudly on the doorstep. The painting (like a visual business card) advertises all the establishment has to offer; including a fashionable Tea Garden.
Bott, who had previously run a number of other pubs in West London, took over the licence of ‘The Eagle’ in 1853, and managed it until his death in 1865. Already separated from his wife, he had three children with his much younger housekeeper, Elizabeth Baker. Perhaps the youngsters we see standing in front of the pub could be two of their three offspring? After Bott’s death, Elizabeth continued to run the pub.
The site where the Eagle stands – on the fringes of Hammersmith – remained largely rural until the coming of the railway in 1874. This opened up the area to residential development, and would have provided a new clientele of thirsty builders and commuters to The Eagle public house.
The Eagle Tavern, Hammersmith 1857 © Compton Verney