When a gentleman takes the trouble to write to me from such a very remote locality as Wanganni, New Zealand, and writes kindly and courteously, he constrains me to reply to his communication, even though the queries he propounds be slightly odd ones. "What," asks "T. W.," from Wanganni, "does the engraved heading on the first page of the Illustrated London News mean?" Were it not for the business look of the buildings on the bank of the river, I should have thought it was a view of Venice." I apprehend that the gondola-like craft in the foreground of the heading (originally incised by the well-known engravers, Best and Leloir) are intended to represent the State barges of the Lord Mayor and the Great Companies of the City of London. These barges were often seen on the Thames at the period when this Journal was first started; but the Civic Bucentaur and most of her sisters are now, I believe, laid up in ordinary in Oxford. Sometimes I receive an invitation to a festival to be held on board the "Maria Wood" at Richmond; but years have passed since I beheld that gorgous once famous galley.
Source: The Illustrated London News, No.2257—Vol. LXXXI, Saturday, August 5, 1882, p.131