Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A distressed sailor, 1801 [1788]

My last post of each month will look at images of sailors created outside of the 1790-1820 time period. Today's image is barely from outside the target range of this blog: an 1801 colored engraving after a Rowlandson print from 1788.

“A distressed sailor”. After Rowlandson (1788), 1801. Lewis Walpole Library.
This romantic image shows a sailor missing a leg and walking using two crutches, with a child on his back. Both the sailor and the child are clothed in rags. The original print was issued by Rowlandson in 1788 and was covered by British Tars in this 2014 post.

Although the original print was created in 1788, before the time period this blog covers, its reissue in 1801 reflects the British public’s continued concern for aged or disabled sailors. The original print from the Royal Collection Trust is not colored, so this version gives us a good opportunity to see how an early 19th century colorist treated a 13-year-old image.

The sailor wears light brown breeches tied around the stump of one leg. The other leg is tucked up above the knee of the other, showing his bare leg and a blue and white vertically-striped stocking fallen down around his ankle. The seat of his breeches is painted a partly-missing, with no drawers worn beneath. His one black shoe has a round toe and is closed with black ties.

The sailor’s blue jacket has gaping holes in the shoulder and elbow that show bare skin underneath, but a white shirt-cuff is visible under the jacket’s open cuff, with both brass buttons unbuttoned. A spotted red handkerchief is tied about his neck, and he wears a black round hat. His brown hair is short and curly.

No comments:

Post a Comment